Electrosonic 1 goes forth
stardate: 9th of August, 2009
it took a LONG TIME to get to this stage, not for any particularly good reason though. i chose dad's place certainly not for its centrality. But it was a bit more open, generally, that gav's area [the traditional launch range] and i suspect a bit less windy.
the weather was overcase and still and tentatively drizzly, not soaring weather but safe at least. we unpacked and set up the launch rail [pictured down the page a bit] first, electing not to go into the muddy cow paddock because it looked like there might be a bit of running to and fro involved. as it happened there was.
kiri took these pictures which i think are rather good :)
once the range was set i unsealed the rocket nozzle, which was a bit fiddly because the motor had been prepared about 2 months ago and had been maturing in the kitchen since. the rocket went on the rail without a hitch and with a coating of silicone spray which is insanely slippery, water-repellant and resilient. i charged the battery and connected the ignitor pins beside the nozzle to the ignition leads with little paperclips. this was extremely fiddly and beyond assuring an easy disconnection in the event of liftoff, didnt inspire confidence.
anyway, by this time everyone was ready so the coundown was called... and then it didnt light.
this was fortunate though it annoyed everyone, because i found upon inspecting that although everything seemed to be in order, i'd forgotten to arm the recovery electrics. DUMB DUMB DUMB. so i flicked the switch ON, backed away carefully and recharged the battery for another 10 minutes, this time on the tractor which had a big battery with big solid terminals.
a second countdown was called after allt he water had been jiggled out of the electrical connections...
video frames: liftoff!
it rushed off into the clouds and disappeared over our heads, on a slightly angled trajectory
towards the back of the farm.
this is the launch rail by the way. its aluminium < __C > rail for cords, or something, and is screwed to an old door architrave [with holes for door bells i presume]. its guyed by 3 lengths of clothesline anchored with tent pegs :)
about 10 seconds later it popped back into sight out over the back paddock, heading straight down fast. i watched it fall out of view behind the garden shed.