ASK 't Harde, 23 October, 2008 - The late summer launch this year was moved back to late October on request of the NERO, as we had to launch together this year (see NLD27). Unfortunately after the crash of their H12 rocket the NERO had no interest in a second launch day. Looking back, the launch days were amongst the best days of October this year. Loading the van started early Wednesday 22 October at our club house in Alblasserdam and soon we were on our way. When we arrived on the launch site the launch towers were unloaded and setup first, also the NAVRO motor test stand was erected. Meanwhile DARE had arrived and they started to unload their huge motor test stand. But before it could be raised, a huge hole had to be dug. Fortunately an army wheeled loading shovel helped them out. Soon the preparation and certification of the rockets started. All went well, apart from a missing piece from the casing of Harry Advokaat's motor. Which he went to get and we saw him again a few hours later, just before dinner, in the hotel. Again it was another hotel: "Golden Tulip de Beyaerd" near Hulshorst. Although only a bit more expensive, it was far more comfortable and better. After a simple dinner, we had a great evening in the bar.
Thursday after breakfast in the hotel we went to the launch site and started the final preparations to the rockets. The weather was fine and there was almost no wind. Harry Advokaat and Pleun Punt finished the last preparations of their rockets and motors. Before the launches the public was invited to see the launch area and the rockets, which were displayed near the launch towers. The first launch window started with DARE'S CanSat Launcher v5 and René Hofsteden's AMRAAM 3. The CanSats themselves were those of the runner-ups from those dropped from the crane at CanSat Launch 08. The final preparation was done following a thorough checklist. The rocket flew very well on its DX1-EE motor and it was recovered intact, as were both CanSats. René Hofsteden's AMRAAM 3 again flew very well, this time using an AeroTech I211W. It's deployment went fine, but when it landed it broke a fin again. Next were Pleun Punt's shortened D-Region Tomahawk and Harry Advokaat's Nut. First was the Nut, which was upgraded with Harry Advokaat's new Tiny R-DAS. Harry Advokaat's rocket flew very well on an AeroTech I200W. Sadly he had forgotten to secure Nut's nosecone and after an otherwise successful flight the rest of the rocket was recovered intact. When the rocket was returned it became clear the R-DAS had not worked either, fortunately no systems were connected to it. Next was Pleun Punt's shortened D-Region Tomahawk with an AeroTech I284W, but unfortunately it would not ignite twice. Probably the motor was to old and the propellant had deteriorated to much.
The following rockets were experimental. DARE's M-HOF2 rocket was designed to lift a R/C-glider to an altitude of a kilometre. The M-HOF2 project is a collaboration of DARE and it's sister organization EMoCie, who built the R/C-glider. Pleun Punt's Flying Saucer is not a proper rocket, but an exercise in aerodynamic drag propelled by a rocket motor. The M-HOF2 was launched first. It flew great, but it's unique mechanical deployment system did not work well. The R/C-glider whirled uncontrolled down and the parachute of the rocket became entangled. Later all was recovered. The R/C-glider was made ready for flight within five minutes, but the rocket had been disintegrated on landing. Pleun Punt's Flying Saucer was like a classic UFO. Pleun Punt had already flown several similar model rocket UFO's, so he had faith in it. Most other spectators had not seen one flying and were sceptical. The launch of the Flying Saucer was very spectacular and it flew very good. After the motor stopped burning the Flying Saucer came to an almost immediate halt and it turned upside down just after its top (as all UFO like "rockets" do) and landed very close to its launch tower.
The final event of the day were the motor tests. One of NAVRO's own Kalinitrox motor and three for DARE's Stratos project. The first motor test was that of one of DARE's booster motors for the Stratos project (B3). The test went fine. Next was NAVRO's Kalinitrox motor test CMT0804 and the test was good, although the results were disappointing, as they were not as expected. Following this was another successful Stratos booster motor test (B4). The results were comparable with those of the first and that was the objective of these tests. The last motor test was that of Stratos sustainer (= main) motor S3 and the almost 13 kg of sugar based propellant made quite an impression. When the propellant started burning, it blasted huge amounts of scorched sand in the air. After this successful test we disassembled the launch towers and motor test stands. We packed these and our other equipment and went home, later than ever.
Thanks to the staff of ASK 't Harde, all DARE-members and of course all NAVRO-members for their support this launch.
See you all soon at the next launch!