After getting back into the hobby, we quickly
invested in a Canon Elura
Mini-DV camcorder to record our exploits and after some practice have
managed to get some good shots of our launches. We've since also invested
in a Canon XL-1 Mini-DV camcorder
and now regularly have two ground cameras aimed at our big projects. After figuring out how to
shoot ground video, we took the next step and invested in a couple JVC
GR-DVM50 Mini-DV camcorders that we've been bolting inside our big rockets,
with great results. When we get home we hook our camcorders up to our PCs
with a Western
Digital Firewire PC Card and then edit and produce our video clips with Ulead's
VideoStudio 4.0 Basic. If you have RealPlayer installed, view the RealMedia streams;
Otherwise, if you have a high speed
internet connection, it's worth the time to download and view the high resolution mpeg
The Jayhawk measures 11.5" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs in at 215 lbs. dry. For her 2nd flight at
NSL we loaded her up with a pair of N2000Ws taking her to just over
5000 ft. An 18 ft. chute was deployed at apogee and a
Blacksky ARRD released two 26 ft. parachutes at 1500 ft.
The ground video does a good job of
capturing the recovery sequence up close. And this time, using new
parachutes without forward drive, the Jayhawk stuck the landing.
An amazing and almost unbelievable thing to see a 200+ lb rocket float
back gently and end up standing.
This flight of the Jayhawk also debuted
our dual look-up & look-down camcorder package. The on-board
footage combines the best of both views showing lift-off, the nose cone
sailing away at apogee, the mains coming out at 1500 ft. and then
finally the landing. Unfortunately we forgot to clean the mirrors
before lift-off so there are a few smudges in the video, but they don't
detract too much from the action.
We also successfully used the tower cam
to catch the lift-off of the Jayhawk. Once again we share our
tower cam footage at both full speed and 1/3 speed. The scream of
the motors as they seemingly tear by inches your head is incredible.
And once again we always find ourselves ducking when we watch this
Porthos, the biggest rocket in our 3
Rocketeers family, measures 11.5" in diameter, stands nearly 16 ft.
tall, and weighs in at 160 lbs. For her fourth flight at ROCstock,
Porthos took off an M2500T and six K1100Ts. This made the equivalent of the California
legal limit of a full N impulse. She reached
an estimated altitude of 6000 ft., but suffered heavy damage after
the drogue chute jammed and the rocket came in separated but with out any
In the ground video you can hear the
commentary as elation turns into hopeful and then more strident coaxing
as we implore the drogue to come out. Alas, it never does and the
video catches the entire up and down. Be sure to note the kids
running for cover at the instant of impact. If you've ever
wondered why the ROC folks don't take kindly to kids playing behind the
flight, this video should explain it well.
Be sure to listen to the lift-off on the
on board video. Porthos sounds like a screaming herd of elephants
while leaping into the sky. Blue Thunder motors make a very cool
screech. Light seven of them together and the sound had people
jumping 1000+ft away back at the flight line.
This flight also marked the second
successful use of our tower cam. In fact this time we had
the tower cam running as we rolled Porthos into place, elevated and
armed her. We've included all that footage at 30x normal speed for
your entertainment. The launch in then shown at both normal speed
and then again at 1/3 speed. Don't be surprised if you duck.
combines the original upper airframe from Porthos with a new booster
capable of holding a central 150mm motor and six outboard 98mm motors.
Porthos II measures 11.5" in diameter, stands 19 ft.
tall, and weighs 300 lbs dry, and weighed 500 lbs at lift-off. For her
first flight at Aeronaut we loaded her up with six N4800Ts and an N2000W. We lit
three of the N4800Ts on the ground and then three more N4800Ts at 6 seconds, and
finally the N2000W at 12 seconds (which although the igniter fired,
never actually lit).
In the on-board video be sure to watch
for the booster breaking free just after the two 26 ft. chutes
inflate. You can then watch the booster fall 1500 ft. to the
playa, kicking up a cloud of dust as it impacts. Look for the
booster shadow as it enters from the upper left corner. When it
meets the booster, it's down.
Aramis III measures 6" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs in at 60 lbs. dry. For her 2nd flight at BlackRock
XIII we loaded her up with a pair of M2000Rs, and airstarted pair of
M1939Ws 6 seconds into flight. Aramis III flew to 19000 ft.
and was recovered under three 12 ft. parachutes.
The on-board video is again dizzying on
this flight. The 4 motor and 4 fin design (as D'Artagnan uses as
well) produces high roll rates during flight. Great for spin
stabilizing an altitude attempt. Less than optimal for great on
board video shots. So make sure you're hold on to something tight
as you watch, and if you're prone to nausea, we might recommend against
This flight also marked the debut of our
new Tower Cam. We mounted a small CCD camera at the top of a
10 ft. mast mounted to the end of our 15 ft. rail. All told this
camera sits 30 ft. up in the air looking straight down at our
launcher. The footage is incredible. The first time we
watched the video we both ducked as the rocket screamed by. So if
you ever wondered what two Redline M motors, tearing by your head at a
distance of 2", would look and sound like, this video will answer
that question for you.
combines the original upper airframe from Athos with a new booster
capable of holding seven 75mm motors. Athos II measures 7.5" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs 100 lbs. For her second flight at Aeronaut we loaded her up with
seven M1315Ws. We lit three of the M1315Ws on the ground and then two more M1315Ws at
7 seconds, and another two at 14 seconds. The seven motors had a
combined impulse of a full O motor: 40000 NS with a 20 second burn.
Athos II flew to just under 20000 ft. and was recovered under three 14 ft.
On this flight we flew two camcorders,
one looking down and one looking out. We mounted the look down
camcorder in the booster, and as you can tell from the video, it didn't
like the ride. Being that close to the action was a bit too much,
and the tape frequently loses sync, and ultimately the video cut out
before apogee, but the footage we did get is incredible.
The look out video will tend to make you
sea sick. All three ground started M1315Ws didn't come up to
pressure simultaneously with the result being a less than vertical
lift-off. On the look out video, the non vertical attitude of the
rocket manifests itself in a horizon that tends to tilt up and then down
as the rocket rolls. Couple a rapid roll rate with a very non
vertical boost, and you may need some Dramamine to watch this video.
Aramis III measures 6" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs in at 60 lbs. dry. For her 1st flight at
Aeronaut we loaded her up with a pair of M2500Ts, and a pair of M1939Ws
to be airstarted 6 seconds into flight. Unfortunately both M2500Ts
blew their aft closure on take-off and the rocket coasted to a mere 140
ft., but both the drogue and main fully deployed, saving the rocket.
D'Artagnan, the baby in our
2nd generation 3
Rocketeers family, measures 4" in diameter, stands 9 ft.
tall, and weighs in at scant 20 lbs. For her third flight at Aeronaut,
D'Artagnan took off on two K250Ws and then air-started another two
K250Ws 12 seconds after lift-off. This made the equivalent of a full
M impulse. Earlier in the day, D'Artagnan had flown the very same
flight, but without the video camera, and set a new M altitude record of
just under 28000 ft. On this flight, D'Artagnan's video camera
kept her to just 17000 ft. and she was recovered under a single 9 ft.
The on board video is somewhat dizzying,
with the rocket reaching roll rates of up to 3 rps. But the view
at apogee is spectacular. Be sure to also note the sky diving cold smoke canister
under drogue leaving a smoke trail on the way down.
The Jayhawk measures 11.5" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs in at 215 lbs. dry. For her 1st flight at
LDRS we loaded her up with a pair of M2500Ts taking her to just over
3000 ft. An 18 ft. chute was deployed at apogee and a
Blacksky ARRD released two 26 ft. parachutes at 1500 ft. The video
does a good job of capturing the complete recovery sequence up
close. A fabulous flight for our first scale rocket.
Aramis 2-Stage measures 6" in diameter, stands
tall, and weighs in at 70 lbs. dry. For her 1st flight at
LDRS we loaded her up with an M1315W in the booster and staged to a K250W
in the sustainer. Aramis 2-Stage had a great flight, although she
coned badly off the pad for 2 or 3 rotations, but eventually
straightened out. Booster recovery was flawless, with the 14 ft.
chute deploying right at apogee. The sustainer deployed a 4 ft.
drogue at apogee and two 12 ft. chutes at 1500 ft. The two mains
were tangled at first, but one cleared and inflated just before impact
allowing the sustainer to land with out damage.
On this flight we flew two camcorders:
one in the sustainer looking down, and one in the booster looking
up. Both camcorders worked great. In the downward looking
footage you can see the booster drop away and the sustainer light.
You can see the same in the upward looking video, as well, with the
sustainer staying in frame for the first 5 seconds of it's flight.
You can also see the stage separation charge pop the two stages apart in
both videos, one second after motor burn out on the booster and one
second before motor ignition on the sustainer.
All in all a great first multi-stage
flight that will no doubt lead to more and larger multi-stage flights
with lots of cameras in them. Stay tuned.