2021 Launch Reports

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2020 and much of 2021 were a launch hiatus for me, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airfest and Midwest Power were not cancelled, but I didn't feel comfortable traveling, so I skipped them.

SLRA High Power Launch, April 18, 2021, Elsberry MO

Nano-Magg, F32-?

I don't have any notes for this flight, just a video from my phone. (I'll upload it at some point.)

SLRA Halloween Spooktacular, October 30, 2021, Valley Park MO

Swamp Gas, F23

"Swamp Gas" saucer rocket, in workshop prior to first flight"

I got Swamp Gas finished in time for the St. Louis Rocketry Association "Halloween Spooktacular" night launch at Buder Park, first in a hopefully annual tradition. Having been unable to fit even a small parachute as I originally planned, I rigged the rocket up with a rear-ejection setup that I thought might make it descend nose-up. This didn't work (even a 4-second delay was too long to eject the motor before the rocket came back down) but fortunately it was not necessary as the saucer was quite stable coming down nose-first after flipping over at apogee.

“Swamp Gas” flight #1:
Launch time: Saturday, October 30, 2021, dusk
Weather conditions: fair, wind N @ 3 mph, 54 F, 72% RH
Motor: AeroTech single-use F23-4 FastJack
Max altitude: Maybe 150 feet AGL (guessing)

Swamp Gas landed on its top, not far from the launch pad. The ejection charge shot the motor straight up after the rocket was back on the ground, which snapped the 60-pound test kevlar thread I was using as a shock cord, but there was no damage to the rocket and the spent motor was found. The posterboard top skin of the rocket got quite wrinkled up just from being outside in the humidity.

SLRA Fall High-Power Launch, November 20, 2021, Elsberry MO

Gravity's Just a Habit, I285 staging to I175

"Gravity's Just a Habit" two-stage rocket, on launch pad in Elsberry prior to first flight"

I made another first flight of a newly-finished rocket in Elsberry. "Gravity's Just a Habit" is my first two-stage high-power rocket. Its flight was very wobbly off the pad; I believe this was due to insufficient stability margin. It was over its tilt limit (20 degrees from vertical) almost immediately after leaving the pad, so the upper stage did not ignite.

Wildman Shapeshifter Jr. two-stage “Gravity's Just a Habit” flight #1:
Launch time: Saturday, November 20, 2021, 3:15 pm
Weather conditions: mostly cloudy, wind variable @ 3 mph, 63 F, 26% RH
Motors: [www.pro38.com/products/pro38/motor/MotorData.php?prodid=512I285-15A Cesaroni Pro38 512I285-15A Classic], [www.pro38.com/products/pro38/motor/MotorData.php?prodid=411I175-14A Cesaroni Pro38 411I175-14A White]
Max altitude: 1030 feet AGL (TeleMega, GPS), 1081 feet AGL (TeleMega, barometric)
Max velocity: 308 ft/sec (210 mph, Mach 0.3) (TeleMega, accelerometer)
Max acceleration: 8.8 G (TeleMega, accelerometer)

Despite the aborted second stage, all recovery events happened as planned. At the much-lower-than-planned apogee, the TeleMega separated the upper airframe from the rest of the stack, deploying the drogue streamer, and very shortly thereafter, the booster ejected its parachute, bundled with the ChuteRelease. At around 700 feet altitude, just a few seconds later, the TeleMega ejected the main parachute and the ChuteRelease released the booster parachute. The stack remained connected via the shear pins in the interstage, and landed at about 26 ft/s. Everything was recovered successfully.

I had planned to fly Berthimus Prime on an AeroTech J420R that I'd picked up from another SLRA flyer, but ran out of time and energy.