This blog covers the day to day progress of water rocket development by the Air Command Water Rockets team. It is also a facility for people to provide feedback and ask questions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Axion G2 flights

A few photos from this weekend's launch of the Axion G2 rocket with the lower half of the Polaron G2 boosters. This configuration represents only about half of the final Polaron G2 capacity.

 Ready for launch

Boost phase - This rocket was launched at full pressure.

Near apogee shot from sustainer. 
The cars (in the lower center left of image next to the rocket) were at the launch site. 

I'm still working on full flight report and highlights video from the launch weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

G2 update

As we continue development of the Polaron G2 rocket, we are preparing to launch a smaller version to test the launcher at full pressure with both the main stage and boosters. We have tested the launcher release mechanisms individually at full pressure, but this will be the first time we do a high pressure synchronized release.

The boosters in this test are only the lower half of the final flight hardware G2 boosters. Each of the boosters in this test has a capacity of 5.25L. We are using a rebuilt Axion G2 rocket for the main stage with a capacity of 8.2L. All up for this test the we will use 8.6 liters of water per launch.

We are also testing the new booster retention mechanisms that will be used on the final rocket. We have previously tested half the mechanism on the main stage, but now we're testing the booster half of it as well.

We'll be launching this rocket at our high power launch site in about a week and a half.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Polaron G2 Progress Update

We've been continuing with the Phase 2 development of the Polaron G2 rocket over the last couple of months. I've added a number of photos to the build log here:

I've also included a video of how we reinforce the spliced bottles with fiberglass. All the fiberglassing is now done so next we need to do some pressure testing on the segments. We have also been making progress with the new launcher we are building for the rocket.

Here is a mockup of the final rocket configuration, with the boosters just taped to the side because the retention mechanisms are not finished yet. ... we're going to need a taller ladder, or use the tree.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick update

Although we haven't done an update for a while, we've been continuing to work slowly in the background on a couple of projects. The delays with the updates have been mostly due to not being able to launch at the regular Doonside launches with our local rocket club because of the total fire bans here in Sydney. There have been many bush fires in the area recently. We could launch at the local park but the launch site is a little too small for comfort.

My wife also spent a week in hospital after surgery and so I've had to do more work around the house with the kids and helping them with their school activities. Life is settling back to a more relaxed pace now so I'll have time to do updates on a more regular basis again. When I have limited time for rockets, I prefer to build them than write about them.

We've been fiberglassing more spliced-quads for the Polaron G2 rocket over the past week and have been discussing with dad about the launcher modifications we'll need to make for the rocket. We'll post more on this in the Polaron G2 build log in the coming days.

Last month we also did some static tests on another rocket as a part of the upcoming test flights at the next launch. We'll post the video of these tests at the same time as the flight tests when we've had a chance to actually launch the rocket.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gravity Mechanisms

We had a great launch weekend last week with beautiful weather conditions. We also finally flew an experiment that we've been wanting to do for a while.

One of the things that we see quite often are designs for parachute deployment systems based on "gravity" mechanisms that attempt to detect apogee when the rocket tips over.

So we flew a couple of experiments that show what actually happens to these mechanisms in flight:

The full write up of the experiment is here:

This includes photos and a highlights video from the whole day. We also had a go at using the 240fps mode on the GoPro which turned out quite well. We're not quite game yet to put the GoPro on a rocket. We could probably protect it from impact, but the real danger is getting it stuck up in a tree.

We are going to fly a few more mechanisms in the coming weeks to demonstrate how they behave.

Monday, June 17, 2013

7 Years of ....

In order to celebrate 7 years since our very first launch we've put together a video of some of the valuable lessons we've learned over the years. Unfortunately hundreds of bottles were harmed in the making of this video.

We've also had another good launch last weekend with the Inverter and the Axion G4 rockets. Here is a full update with a highlights video:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Finding Rockets and Projects update

We have updated our main website with the progress of what we have been up to over the last couple of months.

LaRF (Laser Rocket Finder) 
We have successfully tested a simple laser device for helping to find lost rockets in tall grass. It is mostly designed to find small pyro rockets that typically don't carry other forms of trackers or GPS transmitters, but it is equally useful for finding water rockets. Full details of how the LaRF works are here:

Shadow II Repairs
The Shadow II has been repaired and is ready for flight again. We still need to do a pressure test to make sure everything is good. The Shadow II build log has been updated with the more photos:

Launcher Upgrades
We have upgraded our quick launcher to be completely tool-free now so it is easy to quickly change configuration depending on the types of rockets being launched. The update includes a video.

Macquarie University Astronomy Open Night
We again helped out with the NSWRA stand at the open night. It was a very busy night with lots of people to talk to.

Sydney Observatory
NSWRA also had a stand at the Sydney observatory this year. There was also great turn out for this event.