wiki/ news/ 1998-11-17 - Payload and Recovery Tests II

More tests were conducted this week.

The drogue and payload chutes were drop tested to compare their descent rates with the calculated values. The payload chutes we also free fall tested to see how well they would handle a moderate speed deployment.

The payload ATV and DTMF backup system were tested along with the separation pyrotechnics and igniter circuitry. This was also a dry run on integrating all the systems to find deficiencies.

All tests were successful!

Drop Test Pics :

Brian preps payload chutes for 150ft drop test. Payload chutes are packed into deployment bag. Andrew reels out extraction line.

Movies :

50ft free fall test of main chutes on 9lb weight (MPEG 767 K)

100ft free fall test of main chutes on 9lb weight (MPEG 1.0 M)

The drogue and payload chutes held up great.

There was some damage done to the weighted PVC payload mock up. On the 100 ft free fall test the chutes did not have enough time to slow the simulated payload down before it bottomed out on the tether. The chutes performed correctly but a PVC end cap was broken due to inertia of the falling weight.

The only real problem that day was that the drogue chute came loose after its drop test and ended up under the bridge. Attempts to recover it in the fading light and nearly vertical cliffs failed. Thanks go to Matt and Steve for the recovery expedition the next day. The parachutes are good to go except for the main parachute which we destroyed during testing last week. We should have the replacement sewn up in a few days.

Payload Test Pics :

Glenn and Steve remove camera platform. Steve installs payload, separation cylinder, and shock chord.
Getting it all to fit and line up. Not as easy as you'd think. How many rocket scientists does it take to screw on a nose cone?
4.36" dia. rocket. 6.87" Andrew and Brian tether payload to launch tower prior to firing separation pyro's.

Movies :

Night time separation test of payload and main body (MPEG 782 K)

The payload separation test went beautiful. The DTMF system worked flawlessly and the 1.5g pyro charge separated the two halves of the rocket with enough force to extract the payload chutes from the deployment bag just like we planned. The ATV system was up and running and recording through the whole test. The mpeg video, (from hand held camera), is shot on the side and is a little hard to see since it was dark by the time we got all the systems ready but it shows the sections separating and chutes deploying. Wooowhoooo!

Big thanks to Glenn, Steve, Andrew, Tim, Michael, Ron, and Matt for taking the time to do tests, and do them correctly.