- Terminal Velocity, part 7, Benjamin Wilkosz' rocket project page.
ASK 't Harde, 7 September, 2007 - As usual we setup the site on the Thursday before the launch day. The day is also used to check and prepare the rockets and their motors. Mark Uitendaal and Leon Krancher's rocket NMT Khaaan (NMT means "Need More Time" and Khaaan is after a scream from Star Trek's Captain Kirk) was checked by NAVRO officials first. Unfortunately Leon Krancher couldn't come, due to a moved deadline at work. We waited a while for the DARE members and their rockets, but as soon as they arrived their rockets were assembled and checked. They brought with them a CanSat rocket and four SRP rockets, which are introduction rockets for new members. On a different location the motors were assembled, as well as a Big Boy test motor. After all was finished we went to a motel a few kilometers from the military base ASK 't Harde, as we cannot eat and sleep on the base anymore due to defense cuts. At the motel we had a nice dinner and evening. DARE members didn't stay in the hotel and slept at their parents or friends, because as students the budget hotel was still a bit to expensive.
Friday morning we checked out of the motel after breakfast and headed for the base where we made the final preparations for the launches. Unfortunately due to an unfavorable direction of the wind DARE's CanSat rocket flight was cancelled. The first rocket which was brought to the launch tower was the NMT Khaaan, but when preparing it in the tower it was discovered the electronics malfunctioned, so the first SRP rocket was prepared. This rocket, The Flying Dutchman (SRP V) seemed to be afraid of heights and the rocket never left the tower. The igniters dropped out of the motors. They still ignited the motors, but all three were ignited in turn after the previous motor had burnt out. Next was the Sanctus Phoenix (SRP VII). It was launched successfully, but lost two of it's three motors while descending. The rockets egg did survive the launch and it's constructors were very pleased. The X-Wing (SRP VI) followed. It was named so because of its badly aligned fins, which is not up to the level of craftsmanship expected in amateur rocketry. The fins didn't influence it's flight much, but the rocket lost a motor while going up. Unfortunately it didn't parachute at all.
Meanwhile Mark Uitendaal had fixed NMT Khaaan's electronics problems and it was launched successfully. Unfortunately it's innovative GPS-SMS tracking unit didn't work. It was supposed to send an SMS with the rockets location every few minutes, but after the electronics were switched on it did so only once. The last launch was that of the SRP IV rocket. It was a good flight, but due to its large fins which makes it sensitive to wind it took a relative sharp turn to the west. The late parachuting made the builders joy only greater, when it landed safely. The cheers were so loud it was even recorded by a camera 400 meters away near the launch tower.
Following the launches were several tests. DARE had brought it's Big Boy motor again, and it performed better than last time. Afterwards the casing showed signs of leakage around the screws and excessive heat in the middle of the casing. Both issues must be resolved before it will be ready to fly. The DX1-EE motor of the CanSat rocket, which had its flight cancelled, was also "tested". After it spectacular ignited it performed very well, as expected. Finally there was a smoke bomb test, to test it's possible use in rocket recovery. The day ended in cleaning up, dismantling the launch tower and packing the van. Just after all was packed the NMT Khaaan was finally found and recovered.
Thanks to the ASK 't Harde staff, DARE-members and of course the NAVRO-members for their support this launch.
See you all in the spring of 2008 on NLD27!