Darkstar 3

Length:65"Status:Active / 3 flights
Motor Mount:54mmBuild Dates:2014-12-24 to 2014-12-30

This old Black Saturday purchase didn't get built the entire time I was in Indiana, so I finally got around to it over the Christmas holiday two years later. I thought it looked best with just the booster section, so I moved the payload over to my 3" Wildman to balance that one out too. And Darkstars look best with tailcones, so I added an AeroPack variety. Head end dual deploy rounds it all out.


Event: ROC August 2015

Date: August 8th, 2015

Motor: CTI J250

I had the Darkstar prepped for a full dual deploy mission, but didn't feel like walking too far. The slow-paced day gave me plenty of opportunity to dwell on motor selection, and I had managed to narrow it down to two choices: either a J1055 Vmax to teleport it to a few thousand feet, or a J250 Skidmark to make the mission really worthwhile. I left it up to the students and they, of course, chose the sparky, so that's what happened. The ride up was spectacular--this was one of the first motors out of the new batch of Ti, and holy crap it was loud. The flight was nice and easily visible through drogue deployment at apogee and main deployment a few seconds later, landing a stone's throw from the LCO table. Nice and relaxing!

Darkstar 3 on a CTI J250

others: higher up | recovery

Event: ROC April 2015

Date: April 11th, 2015

Motor: AT K1103

Apogee: 11,061 ft

After vacillating all day on motor choice for the second flight of the Darkstar 3, I settled on another 1706 load I had yet to fly. The K1103X is the incredible thunder child of a K550W and a K1100T, except with another H motor's worth of total impulse. I was confident the rocket could take it, but when Rick Magee counted down and hit the button and the rocket bolted off the rail with a brain-melting roar, I got nervous for a second. (GARY I REALLY LIKE THIS MOTOR PLEASE MAKE A BIGGER ONE.) Of course things went fine and the rocket cruised on up to apogee past 11,000'. The upper event was once again invisible, but main deployment happened just uprange, easily visible from the truck. Thanks to dad for getting it back for me!

Event: ROC March 2015

Date: March 14th, 2015

Motor: CTI J449

For the shakedown flight of the Darkstar, I went for a CTI blue load I had yet to see very many of: the P54-3G. Rick Magee called out the count and hit the button, and the new rocket powered into the sky atop a blue flame, weathercocking gently into the wind. At burnout, it disappeared against the spotty clouds, but all seemed well. However, the tracker died a lot sooner than I expected: no main deployment? After a quick search downwind, I located the rocket laying intact with the main still in place. Turns out cheaping out and using a centering ring on the forward end of a same-end dual deploy setup is a no-go--the ejection charge will blow the bulkhead apart instead of blowing the chute out. No matter: no damage, and after swapping out bulkheads, ready to fly again in no time!

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I fly with:
Indiana Rocketry, Inc. MDRA
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