Over the weekend we had another successful flight day with our launcher models. We launched two Soyuz-Fregat launchers successfully – the 1:72 scale model and the 1:50 scale model.
The objective of both tests was to find a solution for flights with a lower maximal altitude. Why do we want lower altitude? Aren´t we supposed to get high and higher? Well, we want to demonstrate these launches at public outreach events around the Gaia launch date. Finding large empty spots here near the coast of the Mediterranian Sea is not that easy as there are buildings everywhere. You need a large spot as there is almost always some wind going – and with the wind the rockets drift when landing under a parachute. You can reduce the drift somewhat using X-form parachute instead of a round one. Some wind from the side can pass this kind of parachutes. You can spot X-form chutes on both rockets in the video!
The second method to reduce drift is to use motors with a shorter burn time. Therefore we used an Estes C-11 black powder motor with a burn time of only 1 second for the small 1:72 scale model. This yielded a very short flight but may allow such a launch demonstration in an area of about 50 by 50 meters only – half of an football field.
The large 1:50 scale model used an Aerotech reload motor system with a white lightning reload. This was the same type of motor as used for the first flight (http://youtu.be/Bf5rXPhO3Fk). This time the rocket was about 50 g heavier as the four boosters were reinforced and additionally an acustical locater was flying on-board. Everything went well, the rocket was missing the nearby power lines and touched down – in a raspberry bush – again. Four flights and rocket hit already two raspberry bushes!
But we were lucky this time as the raspberry bush was only 30 cm tall – not 2.5 meter as last time (http://youtu.be/QTNWYonq5E4).
After these two successes we scored another one when testing a new ignition system, that we called SPider IGnition System (SPIGS), for the first time. The aim is to ignite three motors at the same time – for an Ariane 6 model. This could be upgrated to ignite the central core engine and the four boosters of … another Soyuz-Fregat model – as in the real case. 😉