PSAS/ news/ 1998-10-26 - Launch scrub of LV1 in Bend, OR


Sunday October 26, 1998................. T minus zero.

After a 72 hour work marathon a group decision to scrub the launch was made. Although we were for the most part ready there were a few systems still not up and a few that were not fully tested to our satisfaction. We may have been able to rig a few things and get the rocket off the pad but it was decided that it would be to risky and would be better to postpone. A good time was still had by all. This was only enhanced by the delirium of sleep deprivation.

There was a big turn out for the launch, somewhere near 100 people were there. There were many rather large rockets from around the Northwest. Tripoli Oregon did a great job of running a well organized launch. There was never a dull moment. The launch occurred both Saturday and Sunday, although we were there only on Sunday. While we were there we enjoyed pretty much an unending procession of flame and noise. At times it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation without having the wits scared out of us by the roar of a rocket leaving the pad. A lot of good camaraderie and rocket geek talk occurred. A special thanks to the Oregon Tripoli Prefecture for letting us come and set up our equipment.

Portland State AESS/PSAS really pulled together as a team and did an incredible amount of work in just a few days. Everyone is to be commended for their hard work, patience, and good attitudes. Though we didn't launch it put us within inches of our goal.

Andrew G. sent out a Kudos email and current status of the project shortly after the scrubbed attempt. I have attached it at the bottom of the page. We are currently rescheduling the launch and will keep the site updated with the latest news. Thanks everyone.

Photo Gallery :

Andrew hard at work in the Payload Electronics pit from Hell. Steve contemplates an interference signal on the analyzer.
The final payload electronics module and antenna assembly Horizontal slide test of rocket on dual rail setup
Launch support Vehicle NO.1 en route to site Improvised command center.
Steve works on ATV. Matt and Andrew writing code. Matt inserts interface plate into airframe.
Laptops doing overtime. A good turnout of friends and family.
A shot of the flight line from the launch tower A shot of the range head.
This is only part of the mass of launch participants Matteo and Kristina ride the Tower-o-fun.
A shot down from the tower.

The whole ordeal started Monday night (?) when the payload team (Andrew,
Glenn, Steve) got together and started pulling the first of the all
nighters. While Matt R. machined away at the interface plate, we made laid
out circuit boards and stuffed them, tested, and integrated them into the
rail system.

Soon, others started joining the all night frays at "Chez Greenberg". By
Friday night, we had roped Tim into helping us; he sat in front of the evil
blue glow of the monitor writing PIC code for about 3 days straight. Matt
Mc. rewrote the DTMF code and started on the Flight Computer. Brian was in
and out of the house as he prepped the rocket and launch tower. Matteo and
Kristina wrote the down link code to interpret the incoming data stream. We
occasionally saw other people - Matt R. blew in a few times as he machined
away at the IPRS, Jimmy swung by and helped out Friday night - my house
became "Rocket Central". It was very cool, and very harried. We
must have put 3 months worth of work into that rocket last week.... it was
quite the weekend. None of got any sleep whatsoever - I'm really surprised
that we got that much done in that short of a time.

We finally got out to Bend Sunday after yet ANOTHER sleepless night. We got
there in two groups - Brian and Matt got out early to set up the launch
tower and rocket, and the payload crew blew in around noon.

Unfortunately, by 3pm that afternoon, we knew it wasn't going to happen. To
many unknown variables, too many untested systems... so we scrubbed. We had
fun anyway - seeing others launch was fun (and LOUD), we tested the ATV and
DTMF system, and ate bad for us food, as Matt Mc. will attest.

We celebrated the non-launch Sunday evening at the Deschutes Brewery
restaurant, and then SOMEHOW managed to drive safely back to Portland with
no one falling asleep behind the wheel. Whew.

Congratulations to:

Glenn - For getting the ATV and DTMF system going, pulling at least 5 all
nighters, resolving all sorts of payload issues, AND for keeping good humor

Steve - For working on the ATV and DTMF systems, for integrating the
payload system, and for doing all of this without sleep and without having
been really involved before Monday! THANKS! We couldn't have done it
without him.

Tim - for sitting down for 3 days straight writing PIC code and having
ideas bounced off of him. Enough said.

Matteo and Kristina - for getting the down link code written

Andrew - For finally Sleeping Sunday night.

Brian - for getting the rocket done, coordinating the whole thing, and
still having a sense of humor and rationality by Sunday.

Matt R. - For whipping out the interface plate, letting the payload team
essentially use his house a board fab, and for still managing coherent
sentences Sunday morning.

Matt O. and Bob - For blowing stuff up for us and getting the ejection
charges sorted out and prepped for Sunday.

Matt Mc. - For writing the DTMF code on the IPRS and finishing the first FC
code revision by Sunday morning!

Ron - for machining out a kick-#@& payload frame system

And finally, "Spouse of the year Awards" go to Trina and Jen for putting up
with us all last week.

Here's a status update on the rocket:

1) The rocket, launch stand, launch rails, launching circuits, are all
completely done.

2) The ATV system - camera, transmitter, 2400bps modem and antenna - all
work great. Steve and Matt Mc. took a ride up Pine Ridge Mountain with the
payload and broadcasted from miles away.

3) The Backup Separation System (BSS) system works great. This the DTMF
system that decodes DTMF tones on the amateur 2m band into commands;
besides one unexplained glitch, we had clean command interpretation all the
way to Pine Mountain.

4) The Interface Plate Release System hardware works like a dream - Matt
R.'s billion nights in front of his Bridgeport worked like a dream and was
tested Saturday night. The circuitry for the system is done, but the code
for the PIC hasn't been tested. Ironically, Tim finished the fist code
revision Sunday at 3:00pm (all that sitting actually produced something).

5) The Piston Ejection System is ready; Matt O. and Bob tested the system
with a few pounds of weight and got the correct gun powder weight for the

6) The Flight Computer and IMU are built but the code for the FC hasn't
been written. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough time to code before