Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV, May 30, 2015
Yeah, it did not end well. My third rocket and second home built one. My son says I'm jinxed... maybe I should not paint them orange. I thought they should be orange so they would be easy to track and locate, but there was no need since both home builts have pretty much come straight down right where they went up.
Among the many flights during the WRoC competition today (see article on WRoC after TARC), not all were successful. There were many fine, very beautiful flights on this day, but as we all know, things don't always go well.
So when they don't (or even when they do), you have to ask... what did I learn? Well, inspection of the crumpled rocket immediately after landing revealed that of the cluster of 3 engines, only 2 actually ignited... obviously giving only maybe 2/3 of the estimated thrust. Further analysis revealed an altitude reading of 122 feet, far short of the 500 feet that was estimated by the OpenRocket simulation of the rocket. Now with only 2 of 3 engines firing, I would definitely expect to fall short of 500 feet, but that short? Was something else wrong also? Did I miss something in developing the simulation? I have no answer to this question at this time.
So what else? Closer inspection of the body tube seemed to indicate that the parachute did not get ejected from the body tube. In addition, the wadding was scorched. So even though the ejection charge fired only feet from the ground, it is not clear whether it would have successfully deployed the parachute even had it reached the desired altitude.
And finally, the lower body tube appeared to be peeled apart... along a seam. I had read before that wrapping paper tubes do not make good body tubes. Perhaps this is why? It is not clear if the body tube peeled due to impact or due to pressure build up from the ejection charge, pressure build up due to a too tightly packed parachute, and a weak body tube.
Maybe this IS rocket science? But I won't give up!