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   -Launch Reports

     On May 18, 2002, I conducted an unusual launch. This was a launch of the MastedonX engine. I was on a farm in Virginia on the Mattoponi River (that how ya spell it?), visiting some friends. My friends are very much into fireworks- big fireworks, the largest mortars you can buy. I thought that since they like launching things into the air, they'd like to see me demonstrate a rocket launch. I didn't want to make it complicated, and there was little room in my car for materials. Therefor, I decided to bring a MastedonX engine, stabilized simply by fins attached to the engine. I knew this would have incredible acceleration, but not that high an apogee. I wasn't concerned with recovery, for there was nothing I needed to recover, and there was no danger, because I aimed the rocket downrange at about 50 degrees from horizontal, and there was about a mile of range in that direction. The MastedonX engine is a G class engine, with approximately 3 seconds of burn time. The igniter was a 330V, black powder, straw igniter, which is designed to pre-pressurize the chamber. At the launch site, I had people either bunkered with me, behind the Plexiglas shield, or standing about 100 yards off. I made the igniter at the site, but when the rocket was ready to go, a currency test showed that the heating element (steel wool) in the igniter would have to be worn down some. This was accomplished by supplying it with a 100V oscillating current. After it was felt the igniter was "worn down," the full 330V was applied after countdown, and the rocket left the pad as my finger depressed the button (what a nice feeling!). We were fairly close to it, and the roar was deafening. I couldn't turn my head fast enough to follow the rocket during its high acceleration, but after tracking the smoke trail, I caught site of it going out of site into the sky. A few seconds later, I could see it descend into the woods. The flight was very unprofessional, because of the lack of vehicle- the simple 'slap on' fins caused the rocket to oscillate during its flight, and it had so little mass that its acquired velocity slid away very quickly. It was calculated, by estimated time of descent, to have reached a rough altitude of 1000 feet. This launch was purely for entertainment, with no goals in mind. It entertained well, and I will be very pleased to see its ability in a well-built vehicle. I am also glad to note that my friends were pleased with the performance, and it was amusing when those that doubted its power screamed from the shock and roar of the liftoff. Details of this motor will be posted in the tutorial section within a couple of weeks, as well as details of the 330V, black powder, straw igniter.


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