It was hot at the Dairy Aire launch this weekend. 103°F, with cows.
What weather forecast is that? The cattle packed into the nearby Harris Ranch pens literally create local fog as they sweat into dusk. Mix with a little methane, and you get Dairy Aire.
Here was one of my favorite shots… 2.25 seconds after liftoff… screaming into the air, the big, fat Thumper rocket suddenly ruptured overhead:
It was part of lineup of ten M-size motor launches (the largest you can launch in California), and this gas-passer had a bit of a hiccup.
There’s something about these nitrous oxide rockets that leads to some spectacular mishaps…
Here’s a great example… the saga of Jeff’s huge hybrid rocket.
This shiny rocket has a huge tank for 200 lbs of nitrous oxide (between the black sections) and a combustion chamber with 28 lbs of HTPB rubber… for a R10000 long-burn motor. Just loading the nitrous takes 40 minutes.
At BALLS16, it screamed up to Mach 3 and exploded (Jeff’s photos).
This was the forth attempt at BALLS17, and it’s even more amazing…
Ground diagnosis was that hot gasses escaped up and out of the combustion chamber due to a failure of a simple phenolic liner. From other photos I took, I can tell that the fancy carbon fiber upper section zippered badly when the drogue chute deployed at high speed.
I’m sticking to solid motors for now.