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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Polaron G2 - First flight

We launched the G2 rocket for the first time today, but the flight didn't quite go according to plan. As a result the rocket could now almost fit in your car's glove compartment. There were a couple of small issues that will need fixing, but overall not too bad. On the way home from the launch site we figured out what we need to do, and will start on the repairs today. We are hoping to have it ready again for the next NSWRA launch.

I will post the usual flight day report in the coming days. Though the rocket was ....well let's not beat about the bush.... destroyed, we did learn a lot from the attempt, and though disappointing, as always this is just another step in the development process.We have altimeter & acceleration data as well as on-board video so that will gives us more information about what to expect on the next flight.

... right time to head back to the workshop.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

G2 nosecone test flights

This weekend we went down to the local park to test fly the G2 nosecone on a small rocket. Both flights went well and so we can now mount the nosecone on the G2 rocket.
I've put together an update on our main website with more pictures and a video that shows how the mechanism works as well as footage from the test flights.

The update is available here:

Friday, January 21, 2011

3 Projects

Although I haven’t done new updates to the main website for a while, I have been busy with 3 rocket related projects, mostly the reason I haven’t done an update. The main project has been to get the Polaron G2 flight ready. As a part of that I have the deployment mechanism ready for flight testing on a small rocket this Sunday at the local park. If everything goes well, I’ll mount the mechanism on the G2 rocket ready for next week’s launch. Craig lent me one of his latest flight computers to fly along and gather data. It will also serve as a backup altimeter for the flight. I still need to mount it in the payload bay.

The second project has been writing an application to go with Craig’s flight computer that can visualize the recorded data and configure the flight computer. I’ll post more data on this later with the first official release of this application. This has been taking up at least half of my rocket time.

The third project is the next iteration of the flight computer we use in our rockets. I’ve got the prototype working now on a breadboard, and all the new firmware has been written. I’m currently choosing the final SMD components and then I’ll finish off the PCB layout. This version is simpler to use and less than half the size and weight of V1.6. It should also be cheaper. It will still be a while before these are available as I need to write the documentation and do flight testing first. At the moment it’s looking like 3 months or so due to all the other projects.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Christmas vacation

It’s been a while since the last update. We’ve just returned from 3 weeks in Colorado enjoying the solid rocket fuel … err I mean snow with the family over Christmas and New Year, but it’s good to be back in the warm weather again.

We have a much better appreciation for what it would be like launching water rockets in the cold weather. While there we visited one store in a small town called the “Nearly everything store” The store itself is quite small but they do have a huge selection of stuff. Amongst the toys, guns, pharmaceuticals, fishing gear, office supplies, crafts and snow gear they had a good selection of pyro rocket kits as well as motors at a great price, and what impressed me the most was that I even found tornado couplings there! So I bought a couple. :)

We got to visit the air and space museum in Denver as well. Here I am explaining the finer details of how a cruise missile attaches to the B1 just above our heads, while leaning on the thermo nuclear device just behind us. This museum is definitely well worth a visit. 

I also purchased a number tubes of PL premium while in the US. From the last trip I knew to leave them near the top of the checked-in luggage for easy inspection by the airport TSA authorities. Sure enough, out of the four bags we had, the two that were inspected were the ones with the glue in them. I knew they were inspected because the TSA officials left a slips of paper inside the inspected bags. But all is good, and so we have more glue now for splicing. We didn’t have any issues going through customs in Oz. We still had a couple of tubes from the last trip but they are approaching their expiry date.

With the trip over we can now again start concentrating on building and launching more rockets, and more frequent updates as well.