Level 3 Flight Report - Success!
Mad Max 8 DD Construction
My only goal for the first day of Red Glare was a successful Level 3 certification. I removed You Only Live Twice from the trailer and had one of the Tripoli Tap members inspect the entire rocket. The rocket passed inspection with flying colors and I was given the green light to start preparations. The charges were packed and electronics were tested. With much assistance from Ben, Joseph, and JP, the shockcords were coiled, various parachutes were packed, and the 12 foot rocket assembled. Much effort was spent in aligning and installing the three tiny apogee and the six nosecone shear pins, but with persistence, You Only Live Twice was successfully mated into one piece. A Loki M1882 6300Ns white propellant reload was assembled and securely installed into You Only Live Twice. By 02:30 PM the rocket was finally ready and the butterflies were multiplying.
The 82 pound You Only Live Twice was loaded onto back of a pickup truck and the rocket started its journey to the away cells. The away cells are the large towers where the big boys fly from. At the away cells, the rocket was removed from the pickup truck, aligned, and installed onto the 20 foot launch rail. More experienced Level 3 rocketeers were onsite to provide assistance. Once secure, the launch tower was raised, the electronics armed, and the igniter installed. Joseph was also playing some Bond music to lighten the moment, albeit it was from the wrong movie. The pesky butterflies remained with me but there was no turning back now. You Only Live Twice was built to fly and fly it shall.
The Launch Control Officer (LCO) started the countdown from 5. At 0, the launch button was pushed, sending 12 volts of electricity to the Quickburst Fatboy igniter. The igniter burst into a 1600 degree plasma ball of fire that ignited the top grain of the 5 grain Loki M1882 engine. The top grain started to burn sending fire to the remaining lower 4 grains. Also, the small smoke tracking grain was simultaneously ignited at this time. Four seconds later with all Bates grains burning, the 6300 Newton Second engine came up to full pressure and You Only Live Twice started its liftoff. The 3.5 second burn lasted until 1800 feet, sending You Only Live Twice to its top speed of 273 MPH. The 3 shear pins prevented the rocket from separating by the drag of deceleration during engine burnout. From 1800 feet, the rocket continued to ascend another 1212 feet from this initial thrust, until finally arcing over at 3012 feet.
The HA45K barometric altimeter detected apogee and fired its 6-gram charge creating the require pressure to shear the three 2-56 nylon shear pins and separating the two halves. One second later the accelerometer based ARTS2 fired the unnecessary backup charge. The 100 foot tubular nylon shock cord uncoiled and the 48-inch Kevlar drogue deployed, dissipating much of the ejection energy. The apogee ejection appeared gentle from the ground.
You Only Live Twice descended at 66 feet per second under the small drogue. At 1200 feet, the ARTS2 barometric sensors fired the 7.5 gram main ejection charge with enough pressure to shear the six 2-56 nylon shear pins holding the nosecone on. The nosecone was blown clear and its parachute successfully deployed. The deployed nosecone parachute pulled the main parachute bag out and clear of You Only Live Twice’s upper sustainer. The nosecone was now separated and started to drift at 17 feet per second on its own chute. Two seconds after the main ejection charge fired and at an altitude of 1000 feet, the HA45K barometric altimeter fired the backup main ejection charge but this was no longer necessary as the recovery gear was now clear. The tracking smoke was still burning at this time.
24 April, 2009 4:40 PM
April 24, 2009 4:40 PM
By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
You Only Live Twice being installed onto the launch rail
Arming the electronics
You Only Live Twice before the button was pushed
You Only Live Twice under chutes
At 800 feet the main parachute, free of its bag, fully inflated. Everything was still in one piece as designed. It was at this time that the butterflies deserted me and I started to taste that celebratory beer. Both the nosecone and the main body of You Only Live Twice
continued to descend at 17 feet per second for another 57 seconds, gently touching down 455 feet from its launch tower. Level 3 was achieved. See the flight and quest for Level 3 successfully conclude here.
As I packed up the rocket and carried it back to the flight line, I reflected back on my level 3 journey. It was after the successes at Red Glare V six months prior that I made the decision to go for it. And it was here at Red Glare VI that it was achieved. The level 3 quest was a quest with assistance from many. I wish to thank everyone that gave me advice, encouragement, and support throughout this process. The quest would not have been successful without this support and the willingness of fellow members and rocketeers to share their knowledge and experiences with me. Thanks again. It was a great experience for me.
You Only Live Twice . . .
And twice is the only way to live
You Only Live Twice being raised
You Only Live Twice ascending on Loki M1882
You Only Live Twice returning to the flight line
You Only Live Twice safely on the ground