We attempted to launch Pedro’s certification rocket last weekend in Princeton, IL. Weather was fantastic on Sunday morning; no wind, temperature in the 20’s, and not a cloud in the sky. The launch site is on farm land so we were worried that leftover snow from the recent system wouldn’t be cleared from the roads. As luck would have it, every single road was plowed, except the final half-mile road that led to the launch site
We were driving in a mini van and attempted to push through the 2′ snow drifts to no avail. The launch was scheduled to start at 9:00 am and at around 8:30 we were the only ones there. We decided to park at the beginning of the snow covered road and began to prep the rocket. Just as we had finished, three trucks pull up next to us driven by the launch coordinators. They drove up to the snow banks, exited their vehicles, and talked amongst themselves for a few minutes. After their conversation one of them approached us and explained that they are unable to reach the launch equipment and that the launch was scrubbed.
We stopped by Starved Rock State Park on the way home in hopes that a hike would boost morale. Along with the hike came the realization that we will need to repeat the 12 hour round trip again in just two weeks for a launch on Saturday, February 9th.
While the certification launch did not go as planned, our Argonia preparations are moving right along. Since the last website update, we have enlisted the help of Phillip Kocmoud, a partner of Mayan Robotics (mRo). His company specializes in hobbyist autopilot systems for quadcopters, gliders, powered planes, and more. After explaining our design challenges, he was eager to offer his guidance. He is working on printing the second version of our autonomous glider and has sent us a flight controller to begin programming.
Perhaps the most convenient part of the new design is that it will fit inside of our already existing 4″ rocket. Rather than build an entirely new rocket while also trying to perfect our glider, we can focus solely on the glider and simply patch up a few cracks in the old rocket.
I would love to provide and explain the schematics for the ejection system we have designed, but on the off chance that a competing team reads this, we will wait until after Argonia to post.
Hopefully the weather cooperates for next weekend’s launch. Be sure to check the website for pictures and videos from the launch. If you have any questions or are interested in how the Argonia launch will work, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your support!
Over and out,