Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The videos of the last flights were posted to youtube weeks ago….

I mentioned it in comments, but I guess I need to mention it here:

Crashing into the crane….

and a good but short flight…

and a long flight with a vane falire at early on…




Still here...

I have been working on some facilities projects out at FAR. I’ve been building some new main valves based on banebots new gearboxes and I’ve been finishing the top end closure on the regen biprop motor. I’ll provide some pictures in the next few days.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Quick after test report.

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.

Good news:

  • We have the performance to make 90 seconds.

Bad News:

  • 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.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Been too busy to blog.

The Blue ball should hover under tether again this weekend.  I’ve been working on some un-fun but necessary infrastructure stuff to make our flying easier and more frequent. Things like keeping propellant cool when its 110 in the Mojave. Hopeful I’ll have pictures and video on Sunday. FloMetrics is also flying their LR-101 biprop so it should be a fun weekend.