Saturday 15 August 2009 - Filed under Rockets
Incident Details: On Saturday, August 15th, 2009 the rocket Canis Minor was launched on 2 occasions from the North Branch launch site of Tripoli Minnesota. The first flight was powered by an Aerotech J350W motor and achieved an altitude of 6554 feet above ground level. Deployment was successful and the vehicle was recovered undamaged. All systems performed nominally.
The second flight was powered with much less thrust using a single grain Cesaroni “G” motor. The purpose of the launch was to try to set the Tripoli MN “G” motor altitude record. An altimeter was onboard with the sole purpose of recording the altitude. Electronic deployment was not used. Instead the flight utilized motor ejection to deploy the parachute. A Rocket Hunter radio transmitter was also flown as payload to assist in recovery.
The vehicle launched successfully and just after apogee a puff of smoke was seen by most observers on the ground. The parachute did not deploy and the rocket was aerodynamically stable and ballistic when it impacted the ground. The impact was not observed because it occurred in a corn field and the rocket was not recovered. The Rocket Hunter signal was not present and the rocket is presumed to be entirely destroyed.
Incident Cause: While all systems appeared to have functioned normally the flight plan failed to take into account a bulkhead separating the motor assembly from the parachute bay. The design of the rocket explicitly ruled out using motor ejection for recovery. The motor ejection gasses never entered the parachute bay and thus the parachute bay was never over-pressurized and failed to deploy.
The responsibility for the failure lies in the launch design and preparation team (LDPT), which failed to take the rocket design into account when preparing the vehicle for launch. The LDPT consisted solely of Michael Koppelman and he is entirely responsible for the incident. While he is not particularly happy about totally destroying his rocket, he thinks this shit is fun and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Photograph of the last flight of Canis Minor courtesy of Rohn Blake.
2009-08-15 » lolife