Our 90 Second Vehicle is Ready.
Our RTK GPS tests with the helicopter say we have a chance to tie Masten in the 90 sec contest, but beating them outright would require some significant luck.
Our 180 Second vehicle is going to go down to the last minute. I disassembled the Motor and it looks good inside, the screens just look like they all got too hot. I think I need to change my warmup purge sequence. The sad part is that I really don't need to do a Cat pack warmup for normal ops, only for Tether ops as I need finer control of the in initial altitude on tether.
The vehicle flies at least as well as the blue ball, but we need to add a pressurization tank and
make weight reduction modifications to have any margin at all on the 180 second flight. Motor pressure drops are high so we need to hydro to a higher pressure and if the tank fails there we are done. I have parts of a spare Catalyst, but I took a cost reduction short cut on the last batch and they did not last as long as the previous batch. So I need to next day air some screen material and beg the waterjet and plating house to perform a miracle. It is all going to come down to the wire.
As one of the recent Masten posts commented about recent progress "we have had multiple consecutive miracles. " We will need similar to do 180. If we can fly for 180 seconds we can beat Armadillos accuracy, so it becomes a risk reward game.... IE On Saturday morning if we have a vehicle that would cost 50K to reproduce that has a 10% chance of success and a 90 % chance of destruction do we make the attempt? (0.9 * -$50K) vs (0.1 *$1M ) The calculus changes a little bit depending on Masten's result.
Are recently discussed on Twitter, Bon Nova is not going to fly this year.
I know exactly where they are in the process and its a really hard place to be in .
so close, but no realistic chance of completion, we were there last year.
"I know exactly where they are in the process and its a really hard place to be in . so close, but no realistic chance of completion, we were there last year."
Sounds like you are in an almost similar circumstance this year as well. I know you are working the math. How do you feel about the $ return (3 years) of unrocket? Do you need to win this to make a business vs. the competition?
Win Nothing: lean times for rockets during the next year.
Split or win the 90 Sec 75K/150K.
Finish the Silver ball and fly vehicles to higher attitudes at FAR, nothing really new.
Win the 500K or more : Work on developing a fly back booster using the Technology from Silver. Go to 100K ft+ and return. Gas and go operations. When we start doing aerodynamics and active fly back control one looses the safety of the tether and I full expect to loose vehicles.
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