Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The ball is dropped in the end zone.

The tank failure we had last night is not recoverable in three days. We are not going to fly the 180 second L2 silver ball this year. If Masten continues their recent rapid progress and finishes the L2 180 second flights we will probably never fly the silver ball again. Its basically scrap metal.

At a personal level I've worked on this project for 3 years and spent enough $ to buy a nice house anywhere but CA. . We came oh so very close to fielding two vehicles, a tiny bit less corrosion in a weld and we would have two vehicles ready to fly.(Proof the Silver flew) As a team of two we built and flew two complete vehicles, but the odds are now that we will walk away with nothing to show for our efforts. Its a really really bitter pill.

I'm now going to get a long stream of comments saying you were two guys in a garage up against teams with multimillion dollar budgets. This is true, but there is no junior varsity contest, just the one contest. I started this to compete and hopefully win, its not to be.

My current task is to scrape myself off the floor and try to get the Blue Ball ready to fly. We have a legitimate shot of tying Masten for the L1 2nd prize.


Sebastian said...

Too bad :(

But is it possible that you try to make more that two flights with Blue Ball if in first attempt the precision is not good enough?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the bitter pill. Take a 1/2 off and get some time to think/rest/prepare for lvl 1. Yall CAN walk away from this effort with money. Yall are NOT failures. Get some rest, and get your thinking caps on so you can be fresh and go tie/win lvl 1!

Rooting for yall,
Jonathan Pickrel

Anonymous said...

Only those who try will ever succeed.
Give it your best shot.

Daron Dustin
(Waiting to see rockets flying over California City, CA!)

noel.wade said...

Really sorry to hear about the tank failure! As others are suggesting: Take a day off, enjoy some time with your spouse/family, then re-focus and concentrate on tying or beating Masten!

We can all post encouraging words and it will only go so far in comforting you, I'm sure... But you _have_ produced some remarkable things, and this contest isn't necessarily the end-all be-all, right? I mean, its possible that some of your work can be sold or licensed, right? So you haven't come out of the experience with _nothing_ to show... Fly the L1, get what you can, and then look back at your hardware, software, and processes and see what you can market, license, or sell! Who knows, maybe one of the winners or another group would be interested in your products - at least to help with their learning curve or as backups or as secondary propulsion units or attitude-control items...

Lots of possibilities, once you look beyond the contest itself. Sure, none of them are a guarantee; but you knew that about the contest itself, too!

I look forward to reading about your successful L1 flights - regardless of the accuracy reading I'm sure they will be a rewarding achievement for you. How many people can claim they've done what you've done - especially with your staff and budget? Pride won't pay the mortgage, but your achievements are something you can appreciate on a personal level and its something that a lot of folks in the aerospace/rocketry field can respect a helluva lot!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Noel has a good point. Are any of your components patentable so you could sell the rights? If not, maybe the motor design is superior in some way and the other groups might purchase the rights to the design?

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely going to win; just may be not this time. Failures in this business were pretty often proofs of future successes.

And, personally, I suspect you've beat the record of number of people and/or amount of money per result.

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