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NEFAR's February 2008 Launch

February's NEFAR launch was full of "ups and downs" in many ways. I began they day by attempting to earn my Level 2 Certification by flying my "Mustang Sally" on an Aerotech J motor.

The nosecone separated and came down on itself under the drogue parachute. The main parachute deployed shortly afterward, but tangled around the booste section. Both parts, however, were recovered with little damage. But my Level 2 attempt had failed.

The Juno 1/Explorer 1 project took center stage. The large scale model was built for the fiftieth anniversay celebration of the launch of Explorer 1 which was held at Cape Canaveral a few days earlier. The plan had been to launch the scale model from the site of the actual launch. At the last minute, however, Air Force officials got cold feet. So, Robb Haskins and the others who contributed to the project decided to launch it in front of a more appreciative crowd.

The rocket roared into the sky on an M motor. The flight was perfect.

Later, Jimmy Yawn and Marc Slabbinck staged a drag race between two sugar motor rockets. The rockets, named "Barbie" and "Teresa," were built by Jimmy. One was loaded with a research motor made by Jimmy. The other with a motor made by Marc.

Jimmy's "sparky" motor lit first then suffered a CATO.

In the midst of all the smoke and sparks, the rocket powered by Marc's motor took off.

I had a video camera on a tripod near the launch pads. It was pointed at my rocket, but caught a good view of the CATO. I also had a video camera, also on a tripod, sitting near me. So I captured two views of the events as depicted in the video below.

Sugar Motor Drag Race CATO Video

Later, I again tried to earn my Level 2 by flying my Mustang Sally on a J motor. This time the drogue failed to deploy, so the rocket was going very fast when the main parachute deployed. The rocket whipped around and the shock cord to the booster came loose. It fell by itself. The violent deployment also broke off the camera shroud causing it, and the video camera, to fall away. One fin on the booster broke and the nose cone needs replaced. The damage is serious, but is repairable.

Additional photographs from the February NEFAR launch are in the PayloadBay.com Gallery.

Additional photographs of the Juno 1/Explorer 1 rocket and its launch will be added later.

[Posted: 2008-02-10 | Updated: 2008-02-10]

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