USLI -- Full Scale Test Launch Success! (Mostly)

Last Saturday, five guys from Iowa State's USLI team made the trek down to Princeton, Illinois to do a full-scale test launch of our system.

In summary, the launch was 90% successful, despite the 19mph winds! The rocket reached a maximum apogee of 4653 ft. (arching into the wind, of course). The problem occurred when the drogue parachute deployed. Shear pins were a very important thing to put in our payload! The payload came out at apogee, and drifted about seven miles down range. We were very fortunate to have placed a tracking device in it, or we'd still be out there looking for it. The dual deployment on the launch vehicle worked beautifully, and that 18ft. main parachute gave us a nice, gentle touchdown. It was so good, in fact, that it kept dragging the rocket and we were having considerable difficulty catching up with it.

The payload was not in its quadcopter configuration for this launch. The camera was not transmitting live video feed, either. The goal for the payload was just to take pretty pictures and measure the efficacy of the deployment system. It did its job and exposed a major flaw (shear pins).

Our big L1115 motor.

Installing ejection charges.

The rocket waiting for launch on the pad. I think it looks really cool with the transparent nose cone and the translucent fins.
View from apogee. Look close and you can see the rocket.

The rocket after it landed. (It picked up about 50lbs of dirt inside the body tube).

And now for some ONBOARD VIDEO!!


Chip said...

That is awesome. Went pretty well for a test launch. Hope the real one goes great.

High Power Rocketry said...

7 miles! How is that possible?