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October 2008 Launch Report
October 11, 2008 at Higgs Farm

October saw our return to the Higgs Dairy Farm in Price, Maryland. It is an additional half hour drive past the Central Sod Farm, but is well worth the extra commute due to the wide open fields available for rocket recovery. Ben and Monica were completing some school work and getting ready for their high school homecoming so I made the 2-hour drive to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in solitude.

Many of the fields still contained crops so we set up launch operations in a temporary field. I assisted with the setup and by 11:30 AM the work was complete. The breeze was blowing about 10 knots with gusts a little higher. The chilly autumn morning quickly gave way to the sunny warmth on this almost cloudless October day. I brought four rockets to fly.

First on the pads was Shaken, Not Stirred with a Loki H144 engine. Shaken, Not Stirred bellowed off the launch pad to an altitude of 1404 feet where the altimeter faithfully deployed the drogue. The rocket quickly descended on its small 18 inch chute and at 400 feet the main parachute successfully ejected. Shaken, Not Stirred gently touched down about ¼ mile from the launch pad. My video skills have slightly improved and I managed to keep Shaken, Not Stirred in view during the entire flight. Witness all aspects of this rocket’s flight with launch, trajectory, drogue deployment at apogee, firing of the motor delay ejection backup charge a couple seconds later (evident by the puff of smoke), main parachute deployment, and final touchdown here. Oh yeah, November 14, 2008 the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, opens in theaters near you, like anyone needs reminding.

Maxi Alpha was next on the pads with an Aerotech E28 for propulsion. Maxi Alpha quickly accelerated off the pads to slightly over 1100 feet. The oversized chute deployed at apogee and it gently descended until landing softly about ½ mile away. It was a long recovery walk for just an “E” motor, however, Maxi Alpha was recovered without any damage. See its very nice descent here.

R2/V2 was prepped for its tenth flight. The cracked fin from last month was repaired and rail buttons were added at that time as well. Rail buttons allow a more stiff and vertical launch. I cleaned the H motor that was used in Shaken, Not Stirred and loaded it with a Loki H90R. This is a red propellant that produces a nice red flame. I was not prepared for its quick leap from the pad with the H90R’s 2.7 second burn after flying R2/V2 on G80s all summer. R2/V2 quickly ascended into the vast expanse of blue on its crimson plume until arcing over at about 2000 feet. The rocket gods must not have wanted to return R2/V2 as it took an eternity for it to yield to gravity and gently land on the field’s edge. Witness R2/V2’s forever majestic descent here. No crack fins either!!!

Mini Sweet Vengeance was the next rocket on the pad. This rocket is a 25-inch version my by 6-foot rocket Sweet Vengeance. I used a black powder D12 to slowly take Mini Sweet Vengeance to over 500 feet where the parachute successfully deployed. Enjoy its slow realistic flight here.

That was my last flight of the day. I relaxed with a Gatorade and an Italian Sub from 7/11 that was missing the Italian dressing and the meat. ERRRR! When will I learn! I took videos of some flights to post on MDRA’s website and assisted others with searches of various rocket parts that tend to rain from the sky on less then perfect flights. We also discuss propellant mixing and future projects. The day was good with four flights and no repairs. I live to fly another day. I left the launch early to get the Highlander home in time for Ben’s and Monica’s homecoming.

Ben’s Intruder rocket has been painted and is undergoing the final details. It should be ready to fly at Red Glare V which is November 7-9, 2008. Ben and I are planning to fly faster and higher using Loki white, blue, red, and even spitfire propellant. Spectators are always welcome. Please see MDRA for details, directions, and planned big projects. Steve Eves’s Saturn V was recently displayed at the Cleveland National Air Show. Steve will also bring the 38-foot Saturn V to Red Glare V for display. You do not want to miss this. See Rockets Magazine for the latest on the Saturn V project. Some might ask how I weaseled out of the romantic weekend with Toni that was originally planned for the Red Glare V weekend. Well, I simply explained that I could not wait that long to spend quality time with her so she rescheduled it a couple weeks earlier. Hey, it worked and I am not sleeping with the squirrels so keep the secret. Until Red Glare V . . .
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Shaken, Not Stirred waiting for launch
Last Updated: June 6, 2010 11:10 AM
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
Maxi Alpha on Aerotech E28
Maxi Alpha
R2/V2 Ascending on Loki H90R
Maxi Alpha takeoff
Maxi Alpha under chute
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Shaken Not Stirred waiting for Launch
Maxi Alpha on the pad
R2/V2 LaunchMaxi Alpha under chute
Maxi Alpha under chute
Mini Sweet Vengeance glinting in the sun
Mini Sweet Vengeance ascending on Estes D12
Mini Sweet VengeanceMini Sweet Vengeance launch