Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Murphy is a skilled and devious opponent

We tried a 90 second Tethered hover today. It did not go well. The vehicle would intially lift off then thrust would decay and it did not have enough lift. This may be a catalyst issue. At the same time we had dynamic stability issues at the heavy weight. We tried 5 times and on the 6th flight we solved the stability issue and murphy struck.  The vehicle lifted off flew stably and  climbed too high. When we hit the abort it got tangled in the tether and with close to 600lbs of weight it crushed all four actuators on the control vanes then fliped over tearing off the emergency event, showirng everything on the rocket with peroxide. The peroxide melted or damaged almost all of the wireing on the vehicle. All in all its probably a “60 hours of work event.”

We need to depart for the contest in about 21 days. We would have to have zero additional “big events” to have a chance. Its been an emotionally trying day. I’ve been up for 18 hours and I’m going to make a probaly futile effort to get some sleep. I need to make a difficult decison in the next 24 hours.


noel.wade said...

My heart goes out to you guys! Sometimes it seems like the rocket business is more about overcoming bitter setbacks than it is about building rockets... I hope you get some sleep, and don't rush to a decision one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I cringed and accidentally shouted ouch when watching that video!

Could you use ground tethers to keep it from going too high?

All good to you and I hope you can make good flights and go to the competition.

Have you already ordered most of the easily breakable reasonable leadtime backup hardware, or is it too expensive? (What about stuff like IMU? Would it be too expensive to have spares?)

Anonymous said...

not to be a schmuck but this is one of the times
it's good to have spares