I was cooped up in the house and incapacitated due to an illness this past week. On Friday, I was feeling better and the doctor gave me the green light to continue with my life. The weather forecast looked good for Saturday’s rocket launch and I really needed to escape the house and the past week’s doldrums. Ben chose Six Flags amusement park over rockets and I did not want Monica to have any more piercings on her body so I chose to solo it. I packed up the Highlander with a few rockets and fought the beach traffic to the Eastern Shore.
The soft, lush, green sod at the Central Sod Farm had given away to dry, crisp, august-brown colored sod due to the summer heat and lack of sufficient precipitation. The weather bared blue skies with small white puffy clouds, uncharacteristically low temperatures and humidity, and a slight soothing 10 knot breeze. The only obstacle was that the breeze was blowing into the nearby rocket hungry devouring trees. Being the experienced rocketeer that I am, I patiently waited for others to fly the first couple of racks so I could sense what the upper winds were doing. It soon became apparent that the upper winds were sending the rockets into the trees and beyond. If I wanted to fly, I would have to make some adjustments and certainly not upset the rocket gods in any way.
I prepped Shaken, Not Stirred and successfully received the go ahead from the RSO. I took the rocket out to the pads and gently slid it onto the rails, armed the electronics and ejection charges, and connected the igniter. I looked over my shoulder to ensure that no one was watching and trying to steal my secret, my secret of Optimal Rocket Trajectory Alignment. This secret was first discovered by Copernicus and then used by Newton to establish the Universal Laws of Gravitation. Dr. Robert H. Goddard used this method and I learned it during my tenure working at the Goddard Space Flight Center. I slowly and carefully turned the launch pad alignment turnbuckle, closed my left eye, licked my left thumb, held my wet left thumb in the air, and declared, “That is about right”. I quickly scurried from the pad confident that my secret was well guarded. The LCO performed the countdown and Shaken, Not Stirred successfully lifted off on its aligned optimal rocket trajectory using a Loki H144 engine. Due to this optimization, Shaken, Not Stirred achieved apogee at 1388 feet where the drogue parachute settled the rocket’s descent. At 400 feet, the main parachute was forced from the upper sustainer and quickly deployed, gently resting Shaken, Not Stirred in the crispy sod close to the flight line. See Optimal Rocket Trajectory Alignment at work here.
Next up was my level 1 rocket, R2/V2. I loaded a Loki G80 and tweaked the delay to 6 seconds. I got the launch prep go-ahead from the RSO and loaded R2/V2 onto the pad. Again I looked over my shoulder to verify my privacy and intently concentrated on completing the Optimal Rocket Trajectory Alignment process. All looked well so I handed the flight card to the LCO. R2/V2 took to the skies on its eighth flight. These eight flights have been hard on R2/V2, having previously experienced total separation during its maiden flight, tangled chutes, dislodged nose weights, broken fins, and various less then optimal landings. However, due to the complex calculations of the Optimal Rocket Trajectory Alignment process, R2/V2 landed in the crispy sod without damage. Witness R2/V2’s eighth flight.
I had other small and very light rockets I was planning to fly on D and E motors but the wind direction never shifted as forecasted. The Optimal Rocket Trajectory Alignment process would require trajectories that are more appropriate for cruise missiles. Not wanting to take a spectator’s eye out, I packed the rockets away and laid back in my chair with a cold Gatorade and a much stale 7/11 sandwich. My two rockets had survived another launch and will live to fly another day.
I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful weather, witnessed other rocket flights, purchased some parts from the onsite vendors, and discussed quantum rocket mechanics with other members. Ok, maybe it was not quantum rocket mechanics. The main buzz around the field was about MDRA’s member Steve Eve’s 1/10 scale Saturn V. The 36-foot detailed, scaled Saturn V is planned to be launched at MDRA in April 2009 to commemorate NASA’s 40th anniversary Apollo moon launch. Clear your April 2009 schedule as this launch is not to be missed. See Saturn V for more information.
I left at 06:30 PM after assisting in closing the field for the night. The trip home was uneventful.
Warp Drive has been fully repaired and ready to challenge Joseph’s Suburban Propane once again. The starship Enterprise NCC-1701 is still under construction and taking longer then expected. Ben is also constructing a Public Missile’s Intruder using quantum tubing and hopes to have it ready to fly on 38mm motors in time for Red Glare V. This rocket was the prize for winning the 2000 foot contest during Red Glare IV. We have also been practicing radio directional finding using a small transmitter and a receiver. Ben has been hiding the small transmitters all over the property and I have been successfully locating them. I had Monica hide them but she sought out the thickest of briar patches and heaved the transmitters into the middle. Lesson learned! Our intent is to equip some of our rockets with radio transmitters, send them up beyond the clouds, and then use our radio directional homing skills to retrieve the rocket after landing. Until next launch . . .
In the spirit of the Olympic gymnastics, this rocket really stuck the landing