Our WOOSH Day Out
18 Horizonites and Horizonite friends braved the lack of chairs (re, above) and made the trip up to Wisconsin-land to watch some serious amateur rocket launches and witness the Level 1 certifications hopes of Jeff and Geza. Jeff was first to go up. Here’s a link to his flight video. His flight was picture perfect and all went well except the winds took his rocket far into and beyond the forest to the south. The rules for Level Certification state that you must retrieve your rocket so you can show that it is still sound enough to able to be flown again. He headed out through the trees to find his rocket.
In the mean time Geza was ready to launch. As you can see here in the video or below, we were all hoping for a better recovery than Jeff’s. Though he put a small northward cant on his launch rail to counter the wind, I think my spontaneous narration says it all.
His rocket landed about 100 feet up a tree just at the edge of the treeline.
Neither Jeff or Geza were able to recover their rockets even with a team of us searching (in Jeff’s case) or scheming in Geza’s case. So it seemed like the afternoon was a wash and it was back to the drawing board. Then, Geza was able to get his Level 1 Certification apparently since his rocket did look flight-worthy, though up a tree and out of reach. They both returned to the scene the following weekend. Geza and Mark armed with a high powered slingshot and Jeff just hoping to find his rocket somewhere in the deep cattails beyond the forest. Neither had any luck.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the launch of a 2-stage powerhouse built by the Fox Valley Rocketeer group. Their Terrier-Nike rocket has been 2 years in the making! It is a nearly 11 foot tall 6-inch diameter rocket powered with a K-motor in each stage. Keep in mind amateur rocket motor classifications double for each letter size. So, a D-motor has twice the impulse power as a C-motor and half the power as a E-motor. Jeff and Geza flew H-motors. So, a single K-motor is… I, J… 8x the impulse power as their rockets and they double-staged it. They had many aborted launch attempts and it looked like their flight may never go off so a group of us headed through the forest to help find Jeff’s rocket. As luck would have it, some of us experienced their flight by hearing the serious roar of the burn and seeing the first stage climb over the tree line before the second stage ignited and continued its flight. The first stage ended up landing just a few meters away from us in the forest.
Jeff Makes Level 1. Twice!?
Undaunted, Jeff took the components he purchased at the WOOSH launch and assembled another Level 1 worthy rocket to complete his certification. He journeyed back up to the launch site this past Sunday. While he was there he learned a hunter had found his first rocket! He had called the former president of WOOSH and gave him the rocket. At the launch Jeff heard the good news and made arrangements to pick up his rocket in the future. He was told he could get his Level 1 Certification. It didn’t matter since his flight that day was good enough to qualify him anyway.
The next step is to start building payloads for these mighty beasts. Jeff is already working on GPS trackers, recovery beacons and pressure sensors as payload.
Projects Underway. Help Wanted.
With the influx of a new crop of IMSA interns, we’ve begun work on two new Far Horizons projects. Throughout the school year they will be working on an altitude control system to manage the altitude of our HAB flights at a predetermined altitude and an automated ground-based telescope tracking system to monitor flights remotely. They’re also helping initiate our revamped wiki site where all our projects will be posted and progress on those projects will be shared. You can find that info by clicking through the Wiki link at the top of this page or directly here.
The newly organized Wiki page will be our repository for working and future projects related to Far Horizons goals and missions. We are looking for everyone’s input. We’re a diverse group of people with a wide range of skills. The only way a volunteer-based program like ours will flourish is if everyone adds their two cents. So, to be involved in 2-cent adding and so that we can avoid getting spammed to death, you’ll need to register. It’s real simple. Click on the Log in / Create Account link at the top right of the Wiki page. Sign in and submit your info. Then, you’ll have to email me your chosen User Name. I or Cynthia will approve you to edit, add and fiddle around with the Wiki from then on.
Our goal is to have each of you help develop, post and support projects that you find interesting. We’ve tried to organize each project in the same format. The Ground-Based Telescope Tracking System and the Altitude Control System will be the first, most active examples of how we’re hoping to use this idea. The high school interns will be filling out the details of the research and work there as they move forward. If you’d like to add any info, insight, references or detail to a project please do (Sean, hint, hint – you’re now cleared for Wiki action!). Your input is valuable and how this project works. As we move forward, we’ll have you take the reigns of projects and sign up as project leads or join in on other roles as you are inspired.