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December 2012 Launch Report
December 15-16, 2012 at Higgs Farm

It twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the house, there were rockets stirring to fly and I was willing to oblige. Toni was feeling down due to the weather so I reluctantly left her in bed as I drove out of the driveway with only one rocket this frosty morning. I stopped at Hollys for a nice warm country breakfast before heading to Higgs Farm. I was early and watched the foxes scurry about along the fields with the various snow geese mulling about amongst the corn stubble in the rising sun. Soon other flyers arrived and we made quick work setting up the field.

The sun slowly warmed the fields leaving a slight mist while the snow geese anticipating the disturbance in their solitude, had taken flight to more tranquil locations. As usual, I observed the early flyers to gauge upper wind speeds and directions.

Since Shaken, Not Stirred’s 50th flight during Red Glare XIII, the upper section of the rocket was rebuilt from a unidirectional fiberglass 54mm tubing. The entire rocket was refinished with a new paint job and topped with professional custom vinyl decals from Sticker Shock. In addition, the PerfectFlite HA45K altimeter was replaced with a PerfectFlite Stratologger altimeter that is accurate up to 100,000 feet.

The fiberglass upgrades added some additional weight so a CTI H225 White motor was chosen for propulsion. Shaken, Not Stirred was soon on the pad waiting for the button to be pushed. The butterflies in my stomach was as if Shaken, Not Stirred was a brand new rocket. At the end of the countdown, Shaken, Not Stirred quickly took to the skies on its 51st flight and gently arced over at 1,547 feet. It took a few seconds for the drogue parachute to deploy which caused a mad spin to the upper section of Shaken, Not Stirred. Eventually this mad spin threw the nose cone off and pull the main parachute out before its time. Shaken, Not Stirred descended under its main in a semi-tangled state until at 300 feet the new Stratologger altimeter fired the main ejection charge which somehow broke the tangle mess free. Shaken, Not Stirred then descended as designed and landed close by without any damage. There is some tweaking in the drogue parachute rode and the nose cone friction fit left to do. See the new Shaken, Not Stirred fly here.

Shaken, Not Stirred was my only rocket flight of the weekend. I filmed some other flights until the setting sun and dropping temperatures signal the end of the day. We packed up the field in anticipation of the pending rains for Sunday and were treated to the International Space Station flying overhead as the sun slipped over the horizon. Sunday brought the anticipated rains and low clouds that forced us to cancel the launch. This was our last launch of 2012. January will bring a New Year and the annual Christmas Tree Launch.

I did see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, and give it my thumbs up. After Quantum of Solace and MGM’s financial troubles, the Bond franchise have finally redeem themselves. My favorite scene was when James Bond opened the garage door to retrieve a non-company car. I will not say more as not to spoil for those that are not double “O” worthy and have not seen the movie yet. I look forward to a new 007 movie every two years.

I wish everyone a happy and safe holidays and a Merry Christmas to all. Until the next launch . . .

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.
What is left after a failed forward enclosure and subsequent fire

By Peter E. Abresch Jr.

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The launch pads were active throughout the day
The refinished Shaken, Not Stirred pointing to the skies
Toni rtrieving Sally Ride
Shaken, Not Stirred amongst the corn stubble
Saturday's flight line
The refinished Shaken,
        Not Stirred pointing to the skies
What is left after a failed forward enclosure and
        subsequent fire
The launch pads were active throughout the day 
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Saturday's flight
Shaken, Not Stirred amongst the corn stubbleMerry