Rocket Launch 03/20/2023

03/20/2023 – Mattawan Air Park Launch

After our first nominal launch at Three Oaks, MI with Michiana Rocketry, we decided to launch the team rocket together in Mattawan. This time we launched our team rocket all together with our coach and mentor. Our new home launch field would be the Mattawan Airpark. A huge wide open space that the awesome owner permitted us to use after his son used the area himself as a young boy to launch his model rockets. His son later went on to work in the aerospace industry, so he was happy and proud to let us use his space to launch rockets there.

We arrived after school, ready to launch. This time we were accompanied by our official NAR mentor Mr. Jay Calvert. Jay owns Impulse Buys, a rocket engine supplier, and he is quite knowledgeable in the model rocketry field. After arrival, we started walking out deep into the field, to ensure we could retrieve our rocket because of its potential max altitude. After setting up our launch pad, we noticed that there was quite a bit of wind. We decided to continue the setup and hoped the wind would quiet down a little bit. We finished the setup, complete with an all-new launch controller. A launch controller is the thing you use to activate the rocket, and it’s a key component to any launch. Once we got everything connected, we worked through the official launch protocols with our mentor. As anticipation built during the countdown, we all waited with stopwatches ready.  Unexpected to us, something bad was about to happen

At blastoff, there was an excessive amount of fire and flames and as the rocket shot up, it didn’t go far. After about one second we experienced a RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) AKA the rocket exploded. If you don’t know how model rocket engines work, the first part is what makes the rocket go up, and the second part explodes and pushes the parachute out so it can glide to safety. Since we unfortunately have no video of the incident, we can’t be certain what the issue was, but we assume it was a faulty engine, and the second part happened too soon. After it exploded, it flew into the nearby ground. We are quite lucky it didn’t fly towards us. We ran over and put the rocket out with water, and it revealed only the top part of the rocket survived. The rest of it was disintegrated, and completely unusable. It’s alright though. We ended up recovering from the incident and nobody was injured. Well, nothing besides our rocket.

Lessons Learned
I would like to say that we learned much here regarding rocket engineering, but we are still unsure of the exact issue. What we really learned is that we should always be attentive when launching rockets, as the unexpected can always happen. Also, ensure you always have proper fire extinguishing technology present when launching.

Check out future club launches at:

Rocket Launch 03/20/2023
Rocket Launch 03/20/2023