August 28th, 2004
We have decided it would be a good idea to retest the nose cone separation system that we designed a couple of years ago since we have made a major change to the main parachute.
In the initial test we saw that we did not have nearly the separation force that we did in the past. This is due to the fact that the new recovery system packs much better into the recovery module. This created a large enough empty volume that we had difficulty pressurizing the module to blow off the nose cone because the contents were being compressed and the generated gas was leaking around our Nomex bag and filling the chamber.
By creating an artificial spacer near the line cutters at the bottom of the module we 'filled' the module to a point that is similar to the launch two years ago.
We did another test and the separation system performed well. Though it was still not as energetic as it was two years ago, the separation event itself is strong enough to shear the nose cone retaining pins and extract the drogue chute from the recovery module.
See the following video of the most recent test and the test from two years ago.