Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We once had a Rocket

Mike Roberts posted a link to this interesting documentary film on arocket today. Mike reports that it was inspired by Francis Spufford's book "The Backroom Boys" and it's called "We Once had a Rocket". It documents how the engineers responsible for Black Arrow went ahead and launched the rocket with the satellite Prospero despite the government having just cancelled the whole programme. It includes a number of interesting interviews with some of the guys who worked on Black Arrow at the time. As others have pointed out on the arocket list, it seems unlikely that the government didn't authorize the launch, but the idea makes for a more dramatic story. Either way the video is interesting and worth a view.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finocyl Propellant Segments Fired

Rick Maschek successfully conducted a static test of the small test motor which used a finocyl core geometry for the SStS project. This is exciting because of the possibilities that complex core geometries open up. Many of the most impressive small sounding rockets utilize a monolithic grain segment with a complex core geometry. Arguably on of the earliest and most successful is the Loki dart which could deliver a small payload to 34 miles despite being only three inches in diameter. It used a simpler cruciform core design.
Photos and video courtesy of Rick Maschek.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finocyl grain testing

The Sugar shot project has begun testing finocyl grain geometries. Rick Maschek is doing a great job of actually casting the segments. Rick has managed to remove the mandrels with ease , something that is notoriously difficult with complex cores, by cooling it first by running nitrogen through the center of the mandrel. Ed at true-core fabricated the mandrel designed by Richard Nakka. I supplied a short 2 segment casing to work with the Blast Tube Motor that I designed to test ablative samples. Really interesting work that I wish I could be more involved with.