MTA launch event, 2016-NOV-12

The launch event at the MTA on November 12th was a success. The STEAM students from the Rise Academy in Compton launched four RRS standard 1-inch alpha designs. All were successful and seemed to fly straight.

Rise Academy, Compton, CA – via Facebook

four Compton alphas with Larry's beta

four Compton alphas with Larry’s beta


Larry built the larger 2-inch RRS beta with a simple wooden egg as a nose come mounted to the welded bulkhead.
wooden egg as nose cone on beta

wooden egg as nose cone on beta

Compton alphas on the MTA table ready for launch

Compton alphas on the MTA table ready for launch

The fifth alpha was a design Osvaldo and I put together with the smoke grenade in the payload section as a tracer. The fifth alpha also had a key fob camera module mounted to the midpoint of one of the fins and a ceramic coated nozzle which was very successful. The camera was recovered intact and the ceramic nozzle seemed to work perfectly with no erosion seen in the throat.

the fifth alpha with camera, smoke tracer and ceramic lined nozzle

the fifth alpha with camera, smoke tracer and ceramic lined nozzle

Dave Crisalli was our pyro-op and gave a great safety briefing before we got started. Osvaldo and Dave demonstrated the combustion of the micrograin and composite propellants common to amateur solid rockets.

Dave Crisalli gives MTA safety briefing before launch

Dave Crisalli gives MTA safety briefing before launch


micrograin combustion demonstration at MTA

micrograin combustion demonstration at MTA


Composite propellant sample burn at MTA

Composite propellant sample burn at MTA

The important part was the preparations necessary include checking the range before committing to launch. We had almost still winds all afternoon and high clouds overhead with temperatures being nearly ideal, but we always look and listen before we commit to launch.

Loading Larry's beta in the rails

Loading Larry’s beta in the rails

Larry on range watch before launch

Larry on range watch before launch

arming the alpha for firing

arming the alpha for firing

Richard Garcia stands next to Larry's Beta (for scale)

Richard Garcia stands next to Larry’s Beta (for scale)

Launch was exciting and went smoothly. Everyone did as they should, by counting down then listening for the flight time and the soft “thump” of impact.

Compton in the bunker(2)

Compton in the bunker(2)

Snapshot - Compton alpha4

Snapshot – Compton alpha4

Larry's Beta rocket launch

Larry’s Beta rocket launch

After the launch, the Rise Academy students were a big help in finding their rockets. After listening after each launch for the direction of the thump sound, we had a starting point and direction to start walking. With all the help we had, all five of the alphas were spotted including Osvaldo’s and mine! However, Larry’s beta hasn’t been found yet due to its larger size likely going further downrange. Three of the alphas were extracted from the earth thanks to the hard work and shovels. A great job as most rockets aren’t found so quickly.

Compton alpha found downrange from MTA

Compton alpha found downrange from MTA

Compton alpha extracted by shovels

Compton alpha extracted by shovels

Compton alpha going home

Compton alpha going home

key fob camera survives an alpha flight

key fob camera survives an alpha flight

Compton alphas going home

Compton alphas going home

Many thanks to all that came out to the MTA. Thanks to John Mariano for leading this event. We hope to see everyone come back for another launch day in the Mojave with the RRS.

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