Perchlorathon July 2009

July 12th, 2009

/ Lucerne Dry Lake

1 flight, 3567 N-sec burned

The summer of 2009 was busy working long hours at SpaceX, so I was eager to get out to the playa and move some dirt before heading back to Purdue for grad school. Luckily, Frank was holding a launch on a free weekend, so I jumped on the opportunity to put up emFire for the first time. The day was beautiful and calm in the morning - Hulan Matthies proved it by boosting a PML Nimbus on a 54/2550 K280 (!) - but the wind picked up at about 12:30. No matter, as I still got two excellent flights in for the day. It was a great way to say goodbye to Lucerne for a while.

Flight 1: emFire, Kosdon L1175

The race to complete emFire was a sprint to the finish line, as I was painting the booster section and nose cone the night before, but it all came together in flyable condition for Perchlorathon. I traded in one of my last L630s for an L1175 from Frank to get the rail speed up a little bit. Prep went smoothly, with apogee-only deployment (since my ARRD was destroyed at Balls...) of a Rocketman R14C. I hauled the bird out to the pad on my shoulder, armed the avionics, and installed the igniter. My primary concern was the structural integrity of the recovery attachment bulkhead; I had spent the evening before the launch feverishly filleting and fiberglassing it in to make sure it didn't pull out, so hopefully the epoxy was cured! Hulan called out the count and hit the button; the igniter popped and the motor ROARED to life, lifting emFire gently into the air. The thunder continued for another three seconds or so before the motor shut down with a pronounced puff of black smoke. The big delay element gave nice smoke up to apogee, where the black powder did its thing and deployed the chute; it was all together, and I could breathe again. The landing was gentle about 3/4 of a mile from the pad. A perfect first flight.

Altitude: 4,863 ft

I like to design, build, and fly rockets. PostFlight started as a project to help me keep track of them. Now I've opened it up so you can follow along, too.
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