We went out to FAR Friday afternoon and setup to test. On Saturday FAR was a busy place, monprops, biprops, hybrids, solids, static tests, flights, with a lot of people. The whole Masten crew came out to watch us fly the blue ball. We brought food, fired up the grill and tried to make sure the participants were well fed.
We flew three three tethered flights on Saturday All three included the full 25Kg payload.
The first flight was a bit of a disappointment, we flew for 1.3 seconds go too high too quickly and broke off the vent valve on the bottom of the fork lift boom.
We fixed the valve and adjusted the variables in the takeoff code, to account for the fact that the catalyst pack needs to warm up. The second flight was done at really low pressure to reduce the maximum thrust. It was perfect.
For the Third flight we loaded about 210 lbs of propellant and tried for a duration test. I haven't reviewed the video or data yet, but the stopwatches gave numbers between 84 and 87 seconds. 210 lbs of propellant is only about 1/3 full and we had lots of take off thrust, so we can load more propellant and make the 90 second mark. (We are flying in blow down mode so we can only fill to 50% max) This flight was perfect until about the 30 second mark. When we started getting some rotation and odd movement. On the after flight inspection it was discovered that one of the four jet vanes had a bearing seize up and we flew 2/3 of the flight with one vane at an angle obstructing the flow and the other three vanes flying the vehicle. It is really encouraging to have the control system cope successfully with such a failure. as it was spinning and sloshing we got some bursts of air/ un-decomposed peroxide, I think we were sloshing enough to send blasts of air through the motor cooling the cat pack, the decomposition at the end of the flight was perfect.
- We have the performance to make 90 seconds.
- We Have to put heat shield on the vane bearings.
- The Video down link was DOA so I need to make that work.
I’ll try to post video and data this week. A bunch of people were there with video cameras, so if you got video please feel free to post it.