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Last updated: Mar 15, 2003
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February 2003 launch report (2/25/2003)

STS-107 Memorial Launch
In honor of Michael Anderson, Payload Commander (Lt. Col., USAF) of Columbia.

Brrrr (again)!

On Saturday, February 22nd, a few dedicated fliers came out Apple Valley High School for MASA's second launch of the year.  This was the first time that a club launch had been held at this location.  Launching ended after 21 flights.

A few of the flights:

MASA members - please send in your thoughts about the launch! 

Glen Overby writes:

Today, MASA held a launch at Apple Valley High School. This launch was held in part as an opportunity for high school teams participating in the Team America Rocket Challenge to make test or trial flights. Only one team showed up, and they made one test flight.

I started the day off with a wind-test-dummy, a streamer recovery stomp rocket on a B6-4. I wasn't very happy watching the winds push it towards the south end of the field. However, by 10am or so I think the wind had let up some and the cloud cover had broken up, leaving just a few white puffy clouds. All totaled, 23 flights total from nine fliers. Stuart Lenz gets the most-flights-flown.

The Apple Valley High School TARC team flew twice first on Ted's Ranger with a 3 C motor cluster then on their 3-C to 3-C TARC rocket (minus eggs). Their rocket drifted into a tree on the east side of the field. I was going to get my 20' fishing pole, but first asked Mike Erpelding what his rocket retrieval pole was. Wow! Cool! It's a pole for pulling wires through open spaces (such as above ceiling tile) and is made from heavy fiberglass. To heck with the fishing rod! We (well, mainly Ted) used that to pull the rocket out of the tree. No substantial damage (one booster fin was knocked loose) but it weathercocked severely and only went to 860'.

I served as RSO/LCO for the first few flights then drafted Michael Erpelding who served for the rest of the day. Thanks!

Ted Cochran writes:

I let the TARC team practice with the Ranger--they'd never flown a cluster before--and I also wanted them to practice rolling a nylon chute into a BT60 body tube. It flew on 3xB6-6, and the chute was too much--it drifted onto the school roof. Eventually the wind dragged it off, though, and it fell onto a concrete path, breaking one fin.

The Silver Comet had a nice flight (it's 28th) on a D12.

The TARC team's rocket was simulated to go a bit over 1400 feet, if it went straight up, in it's unfinished state. I think they may have had an ounce too much ballast, too--it was supposed to weigh about 15 ounces. It weather cocked at least 20 degrees, as Glen said. They have tentative plans to add strap on boosters, which could help a lot, as will monokote on the fins. Nevertheless, the fact that the team pulled off a 3xC6 to 3xC6 flight with all motors lighting is pretty amazing. We should have a fun meeting on Wednesday.

I flew my Eliminator on my second-to-last F62-4 to finish up the day.  It flew well as always, and landed just past the baseball diamond.  I'm really going to miss those F62 motors!

I want one of Mike's poles!

Not a bad day for Minnesota in February!

Stuart Lenz writes:

The day dawned clear and crisp, but 15 degrees does not stop Minnesotans. The 10 mph wind made the rockets drift some and the effective temp ~ 15 below.  The launch started nearly on time with the first two rockets flying just after 900AM, stomp rockets of course, one of Glens and one of mine.

This launch was held at one of the TARC rocket challenge school fields and we were expecting up to 4 teams to be present but only the Apply Valley team arrived. They started with a test cluster rocket of Ted's, a Ranger Clone I believe that ended up on top of the school. It eventually was blown off by the wind and recovered. Mike's only flight of the day was an egg ofter, in an attempt to use up the dozen eggs he brought but he was unable to break even one, nice flight.

I mostly flew my new MicroMaxx Rocket Clones as follows

  • Micro Alien 8 (Shrox Industries); nice flight
  • Micro Alien Explorer (Estes OOP #1372); nice flight
  • Micro Interdimensional Transfer Ship (Nano Rocketry); needed streamer recovery
  • Micro Lambda Shuttle (EMRR); somewhat unstable flight due to wind
  • Micro Nomad (Estes OOP #1344); nice flight
  • Micro Armageddon (DG&A); nice flight

My last flight of the day was the first composite engine, a F21-4 in Pokeman #1.

The rocket challenge group finally finished the prep for a test flight of their rocket with 3C6-0 to 3C6-5. All engines lit but the rocket weathercocked over the trees and was recovered out of a tree. The altitude was only 860 feet, maybe 1100 to 1200 if it had gone straight up. Ted launch at least two rockets, first a Silver Comet on a D12-3 and finished the launch day with his Eliminator on an F62, very nice flights.

Every thing was cleaned up by 1200 and we retired to warm.

The Details:

Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 4 or newer of the Acrobat reader)

The totals were:  21 flights, 23 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 172 Ns with an average total impulse of 7.5 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 6





















(Alan Estenson)

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