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Last updated: May 30, 2005
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March 2005 launch report (4/2/2005)

On Saturday, March 19th, MASA held its second launch of the year.  This lauch was held at the Buffalo / Rockford site.

Thanks to Prez. Mike Erpelding for driving all the way down with his truck o' equipment.

A few of the flights:

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

Mike Erpelding writes:

Quite the day it was today.
When I got up this morning, we still didn't have any snow. I headed out for the field at 7:10 am. I didn't even notice a damp road until Buffalo. Still no snow. After stopping for gas in Rockford; I arrived at the field about 8:15 am. There was just a light dusting 
of snow on the field. 
I started to set up five pads and double dozen. After I was all set up I decided to do a continuity test at each pad. Much to my suprise the pad selector switch was very limp when I tried to select pads bank 1- 12. It would not make contact unless pressed down while 
flipping it. It would also not maintain contact! Something must have banged it or fell on top of the switch on the trip back from NARCON.
Fortunately I left my assorted crimp on connectors case in the back of my truck. I quickly fashioned a jumper wire to bypass the bank selector switch. This left me with a working bank of 12 pads possible. A quick test and we were go for launch!
By now it was about 9:20am. The weather was great! The wind went from periods of dead calm to a light breaze of about 10 mph out of the NNE. I called over to Mark T's house to post the good news. He was busy blowing 4 to 5 inches of snow out of his driveway. Thanks Mark for posting that notice for me!

I then started to have a snack while I waited for someone to arrive.
Art Gibbens and the Hope Christian Academy TARC team arrived a little past 9:30 am.  They were going to do a couple practice flights and then go for their first qualification attempt.  Their first flight was a booster with 4 C11-0's and a D 12-5 in the sustainer. They had a very unique recovery system for their eggs.  Unfortunately one of the booster motors didn't light for a very low altitude. The sustainer ejected shortly before impact. Fortunately they were able to salvage the sustainer with minor damage for their second flight.
Since they did not have any extra sustainer parts, their next flight was their qualification attempt. This configuration used 4 D12-0's and an E9-4 for a propellant total of 120.2 grams ( based on the TARC Handbook).  This flight weathercocked towards the woods and mysteriously lit the sustainer while still under thrust from the booster.
The booster and the egg capsule were recovered safely with the eggs intact. Unfortunately the bottom section of the sustainer got caught on the top of the high voltage transmission line. This ended the team's flying for the day and they departed. I decided to wait until noon and then call it a day if no one else would show up.

I finished my snack. Since we were suppose to have a stomp rocket drag race, I prepped mine on a B6-4. Great flight as always. After I recovered my stomp rocket I looked over and noticed that the wind 
blew Hope Christian Academy's sustainer off the powerline. While looking around for it I noticed that it landed in a tree near the barbed wire fence on the edge of the field. My telescoping pole was about six feet too short to reach the parachute that draped over the tree's canopy. I walked back to the truck and found some electrical tape. I then found a long branch and fastened it to pole. I was just able to snag the parachute. The elastic shock cord was tangled on 
many branches. Finally the elastic snapped, sending the sustainer gently tumbling down branch to branch to the ground. The was enough recoil in the elastic to free it and the parachute from the tree. It took a while to free it from all of the prickly ash below the tree.
I also found back the Fleet Farm parachute and half of the payload section of my Renegade, that I lost to a tree last spring.  It was laying on the ground, still tangled in it's branch.

Returning to my truck, I prepped one of my Stars and Stripes models with a B4-4. Another great flight, landing 50 feet from the pad.

By now it was 11:45 am. I desided to start packing up. After I finished packing everything away, I started my truck and started changing my boots. While I was putting on my last work boot, Glen showed up after his Ham radio meeting in Buffalo. We left to get 
something to eat and had a good conversation. 
I then made a TARC motor run to Hub Hobby.

I hope the weather will be as nice at the April 2nd launch in Apple Valley.

Art Gibbens writes:

A tough day for TARC Team 3081. The team had designed and built two different payload sections for the eggs to be recovered by.

They flew design two first on 4 C11-0s to a D12-5 for a Roc-Simmed altitude of about 660 feet to deploy each egg in it's own small capsule on a very light plastic parachute. One booster engine did not light, (which is the first failure of that type in two years of launching), which did not put the rocket high enough, about half the height at best. Needless to say, the ejection charge was too long and both eggs were crushed. This flight also damaged the upper section of the sustainer, but not so bad that we couldn't 
get a second flight off using the first design payload section. The booster section had the remaining engine light from the top and really scorch the cone area as well.

The first design payload section is more traditional, in that the eggs are kept in the part of the rocket that has the nose cone attached to it for a heavier payload section. The team bought a 30 inch parachute with a 5 inch spill hole in it. With the windy conditions and the very short flight already in the books for the day, they decided to use 4 D12-0s with an E9-4 sustainer to push it up to about 1400 feet to get a longer time with which to trim back to. The best laid plans...

Apparently, we have become part of a larger problem Estes may be having with D12-0s, as two other TARC Teams have reported a "blow-through" type of CATO during boost which prematurely lights the sustainer. That's exactly what happened to the team this time.

I have to get the manufacturer information off the engine casings to report it to the Estes/TARC folks to see if there is a higher than acceptable limit of CATOs on D12-0s. Seems to be at this point anyways.

Anyways, because of another under-boosted first stage, we did not achieve our Roc-Simmed height for deployment of the payload capsule. So we got a  score of 44.5, which leaves plenty of room for us to improve upon and a large opening for other teams to bump us out of the finals.

We left Mike around 11:15 am waiting for other rocketeers to come out on a great day to launch for the month of March.

The Details:

Full launch tally (in Adobe Acrobat PDF form, requires version 6 or newer of the Acrobat reader)

The totals were:  4 flights, 11 motors.  The cumulative total impulse was 152 Ns with an average total impulse of 13.8 Ns.  The motor breakdown follows:


# Burned

MicroMaxx 0





















(Alan Estenson)

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