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.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Dark Shadow flies to 1752 feet (534m)

Dark Shadow is our latest water rocket project. Construction on this project began in June last year, and we had a chance to fly it 3 times at the recent Thunda Down Under event in Westmar QLD.
The rocket was designed to try to set a new personal best altitude record. We progressively increased the pressure on subsequent flights to finally achieve an altitude of 1752' or 534m.
Here is a highlights video of the 3 flights:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r9gmLfpFTg

 The full flight report is here:
http://www.AirCommandRockets.com/day158.htm

I have also uploaded the build log that has full details about the rocket's construction here:
http://www.AirCommandRockets.com/dark_shadow_1.htm






Thursday, March 26, 2015

Polaron G2 - Phase 2 Flights

Fast forwarding a few months ....

Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to fly our full size Polaron G2 rocket with boosters at Australian Rocketry's Thunda Down Under international launch event in Westmar QLD.

We were glad to finally get this rocket in the air after several years of development. It didn't take several years to build, we just procrastinate a lot.

We flew the rocket successfully a couple of times, and are looking to now move on to Phase 3, - adding a 2nd stage to the main stage. We are likely to fly this rocket again in the current configuration though in calmer conditions as the two recent flights were affected by strong wind and didn't go as vertically as we would have liked. There may have also been a small stability issue close to booster burn out due to the large amount of water still in the bottom of the main stage that used a very small nozzle. This rocket had been designed for a long burn rather than altitude. It had a predicted burn time of around 10 seconds. We didn't quite achieve that but at ~8 seconds it was still fun to watch.

 

We've posted a video of the flights here:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnripxx0TeU


And the full G2 launch report with photos (day 157) is available here:
http://www.AirCommandRockets.com/day157.htm

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:
http://www.aircommandrockets.com/polaronG2.htm#_171013

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:
http://www.AirCommandRockets.com/day136.htm

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.