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, July 28, 2009

Day 79 Flight day report

We've updated our main website with the latest launch day report here:

Included are pictures from the day and a couple of videos. We also discuss the new mini video camera we bought to replace the broken FCO2, and additional thermal testing we did on black Tornado couplings.

Photo: David Kelleher

I'm still putting together the pyro rocket highlights video which will be ready in the next day or so.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Acceleron Vb CATO

We just had a fun weekend at Doonside. The weather was perfect for launching and so we set up Acceleron Vb with all the modifications for the next test flight. About 10 seconds from launch the booster exploded on the pad. It was quite an impressive boom to say the least. One of the spliced bottles came apart. Although quite a few pieces came off, surprisingly there was little damage caused to the booster and sustainer. Repairs are already under way to get it ready again for the next flight.

We got good high speed footage of the explosion (over the years we have learned to keep the camera rolling while pressurising). Photos and video will be posted on the main website soon.

Other than that we ended up flying Axion V three times with foam and all the flights went really well with good onboard video and altimeter data. We were a little dissapointed that Acceleron V did not get to fly (as a cohesive unit :) ) this time, but at least the repair bill will be under $5.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Modifications Update

During the week we've continued to make the necessary modifications to the Acceleron V rocket.

The new nozzles are now finished and internally polished for better efficiency. The new nozzle seats and fill tubes are completed also. The new pressure switch is about half completed. Depending on how tests go with it this week we may need to use the old Acceleron pressure switch as a back up.

We still need to do pressure tests on the sustainer (today) as it has many new bottles. We will also do additional pressure tests on the new nozzle seats and nozzles.

We made a new fin alignment jig last week that is fully adjustable allowing fins of any dimension to be aligned with the rocket axis while they are glued in place. As a result the sustainer now has 3 new larger fins well aligned. The surface area of the fins is about 3x larger than the previous set.

We are now doing the final preparation for the next launch day coming up this week. The weather outlook for the next few days looks good, so we are hoping that will extend into the weekend.



Monday, July 06, 2009

Acceleron V first flight

We've updated our main website with details of Acceleron V's first test flight here:

The update includes photos and a video of the flight.

Although the flight didn't quite go according to plan, there were a lot of positives we got out of it, and obtained some valuable data about the rocket's performance. Reviewing the altimeter and video data we think we know what happened. We now have a plan for what changes we will need to make by the second test flight in a few weeks time. Luckily they are only minor changes.

Complex rockets take time to sort through the various issues as there are many things that can go wrong. Without flights like these we don't learn what works and what doesn't. Overall we consider the flight mostly a success.

I've also uploaded a highlights video of the pyro rockets from the launch day here: