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Redline

After prepping all day, my Mavericks Sledgehammer rocket blasted off the pad on a Aerotech M1550 Redline motor, brightly illuminating the clouds with its red 8 ft. tall plume. (large size, More Sledgehammer Shots)

 

This was the biggest launch of the day, with the largest motor class permissible in California. Pulled 8 g's on the way to 450 MPH.

 

Ground Video: My son set the camera on some rocks for the launch so he could cover his ears. =) So we don't have tracking, but a good sense of the sounds that the crowd heard back at the flight line.

 

It was a perfect flight, with on-board video capture the whole way, even through the landing.

 

On-board Video: For those new to high-power rocketry, I should explain a few items:

 

At the beginning, the beeping sound you hear is one of the flight computers signaling which of the pyro channels is connected. This is used to deploy the parachutes at apogee, based on barometric and accelerometer sensors.

 

The camera is pointing outward from the rocket, looking back to the flight line. It is a Sony PC-1 with a wide angle lens.

 

After launch, it goes into a bit of a spin. You can see how fast it gets up out of the clouds.

 

The turbulence up top is the BP explosion deploying the parachutes. The nose cone has it’s own 60” chute and can be seen briefly.

 

I would not recommend watching the whole video as it takes a while to get back to ground… unless you are interested in the spinning survey of Snow Ranch.

 

At the end, an excited spectator helped me find and recover the rocket.

 

Also, I entered this launch in a contest to see how close I could get to exactly one mile of altitude (5,280 ft.).

 

Near the end, you can hear the audible signal of the peak altitude recorded by the flight computer: 5 beeps, 2 beeps, long beep, 4 beeps = 5,204 ft.

 

Not bad at all.

 

And so, I think this will be the first big rocket to earn a spot on the LUNAR mile high wall.

 

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Taken on December 6, 2008