Saturday, October 11, 2008

Status uncertain....

We flew a 59.5 second tethered hover with payload today. For the amount of fuel loaded we needed to get to 65 seconds. We thought we ran out of peroxide, but on more examination we ran out of catalyst, and the last few seconds of flight were in water rocket mode with the remaining peroxide.


We ran out of catalyst because our catalyst tank sprang a pinhole leak in one of the welds. That ended todays testing. This looks like it might end our year as well. We drove home to try and adapt one of our 14” spherical tanks to replace our leaking 10” tank and it just wont fit.  In driving home we had a long discussion, I’m for calling it done for this year and trying to pick up the 2nd place prizes next year. My Son does not want it to drag on beyond this month, so he wants to make a hail mary attempt for this year.


I don’t know if it is even possible. To make it this year we would have to:


Fix the tank problem and go out and test with Kevin for a 90 second tethered flight on Wedensday. Then go do the free flight next Sunday, 5 days before the contest. Can we still satisfy the Xprize and the FAA with less than 5 days between the possible required test and the contest?


We just don’t know. We will keep you posted.


True Zero is close, but they are just about to discover that their performance is not quite what they expect…. (see the comment at the end of their last post) We are struggling with that. It looks like it may be an Armadillo only show this year again,  we gave it all we had and it looks like we might come up just short….


 

8 comments:

Iain said...

Sometimes I think your better to settle for 2nd place, with all the work and time you have put in you don't really want to be rushing, ol murphy will be lurking somewhere. Sit back get everything perfect and flying 100% for next year where you can go into the competition being totally confident.
I know its all been working up till this date but sometimes you just have to take that step back, you might, otherwise you could regret it...
What ever decision you make you know it will be right.
Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's sad to read these things. One question though: what do You loose if You go for such Hail Mary shot which then fails? Maybe try to do unemotional pros and cons estimation...

Anonymous said...

what you lose from a Hail Mary Pass?

You lose the hardware and
you usually manage to fail spectacularly in front of
potential investors.

if you don't have at least 5 demonstrated running flights
at the test grounds you don't
have much of a shot

Stevo Harrington said...

Every time you have gone out to Mojave, there has been some kind of breakdown that requires a trip to Solana or McMaster.
None of this type of support will be available in New Mexico.
So before you decide, you might try a little failure mode analysis. I.e. what type of recoverable failures will you see in New Mexico and are you on the bottom of the bathtub curve yet.

Anonymous said...

As John Carmack wrote, you must be prepared to loose the hardware (during testing) anyway, and I don't thonk Paul intends to start rocket business -- it's just an unreasonable hobby project.

Wrt. 5 running flights, nobody does that. Even Armiadillo, who do test a lot (they did a lot tethered flights, but little free flights).

Anonymous said...

Who is True Zero?

Anonymous said...

TrueZer0 is another team 'allmost there': www.truezer0.com

noel.wade said...

Normally I'd be gung-ho and cheering you on to go for it, but I agree with the others: If the ship is still having teething troubles and the deadline is as short as you say, its going to be tough not ONLY to qualify to fly - but also to recover from any minor damage or mishaps. :-/ It might be time to take a break and recharge, and make another run at it next year...