Sunday, March 26, 2017

Notes from yesterday's launch - UPDATED (already)

I wanted to capture one observation and one tip that I picked up yesterday. Mainly for my future reference.

First, 7 of my flights were started with Estes' new starters. 7-for-7 worked. Contrast that to my own igniters that, for about 15 years, were very reliable starting everything from D to K (one K). There I got one of three to work. D'OH! I'm going to keep and eye on those new Starters and will remedy my own igniter woes. UPDATE: I checked the resistance of my remaining igniters. It turns out that the failed (no continuity) one from yesterday and one from a launch last year both show open. This is despite checking twice during their fabrication. Could these have burned internally without igniting the pyrogen? I don't know. But, all the others showed good at under 2 ohms.

Next, when my Sacrificial Bertha went to close to 2000', nobody spotted it. We heard the ejection and kept scanning the sky. Then one out of the box thinker just looked down range. And he saw it as it was just about to touch down. So, the takeaway is that, if a rocket goes out of sight and isn't picked up shortly after ejection (here a sim of the descent rate will help), make sure at least one set of eyes is scanning the horizon where it is expected to land.