Launch Campaign Stratos II Day 6

With only one day left until the launch, today was supposed to be a very stressful day. After a tasty breakfast with bacon and eggs, the team started very early this morning to get all the subsystems ready for integration into the rocket. However, at about 10:00 (CEST) the management of the Stratos II project decided to have an urgent meeting to discuss the weather conditions for the next day. After a long meeting it was decided unanimously by all the teams (hybdrid propulsion team, capsule & recovery team, electronics team, public relations team, simulations team, range safety officer and payload specialist officer) that it is unfavorable to launch the rocket on Wednesday. Launching with one day delay will result in a more favorable weather condition during launch. For Wednesday the 1st of October the weather forecast predicted wind from the North, however for the mission it is favorable to have the wind from the South-West. In addition to that, there is 30% chance of rain on Wednesday. The weather on Thursday the 2nd of October looks more promising, hence it has been decided to launch on this day.

Wind vane showing the wind direction and speed

Wind vane showing the wind direction and speed

Even though this delay in the launch meant a additional slightly stressful day for the team, there was still many details to be taken care of before the rocket is fully assembled and everything is ready for launch. One of the activities that took place today was the testing of the flight termination system. This system has been discussed in previous blog updates on this website. For today it was scheduled to test the modulation of the carrier frequency of the signal transmitted from the rocket to the Control Center on the ground. The team also performed vibrational testing on the components of the flight termination system of the rocket, because the electronics experiences quite some vibrations during the launch. All of these tests have been successful. The electronics functioned well during the vibrational tests.

Electronics team testing the flight termination system

Electronics team testing the flight termination system

The capsule team prepared the capsule section for a final integration by fixing parts of the capsule section together. This was done using a universal jointing compound to make the inner section of the capsule air-tight. Also the payload from the team from Nijmegen has been fully integrated into the payload module. Both of the black boxes used for the data storage of the payload have been tested and function properly. The black boxes have been attached to the payload on the outer part of the capsule section, as can be seen in the picture below. Both black boxes record the same data, for redundancy in case one of them fails.

Capsule team preparing the capsule section for final integration

Capsule team preparing the capsule section for final integration

Payload from the University of Nijmegen

Payload from the University of Nijmegen

The propulsion team did not have any major activities planned for today. The rocket motor (including the electronics that control the valve system)  are ready for integration. The propulsion team instead set-up the launch tower today, complete with launch lugs and fixing the tower to the ground.

Rocket motor is integrated to the rest of the rocket.

Rocket motor is integrated to the rest of the rocket.

Launch tower view from the dunes

Launch tower view from the dunes

Today the radio-frequency compatibility test was planned but not yet executed. This radio-frequency compatibility test would test if the frequencies used by the launch site crew does not interfere with the frequencies transmitted by the electronics of the Stratos II rocket. The test is now planned for tomorrow at 10:00 (CEST) due to the delay of the launch.

Tomorrow the teams will continue their activities and perform a final dress rehearsal of the launch sequence before the new launch opportunity on Thursday the 2nd of October. If you have not yet signed up for the launch notification then make sure you do it as soon as possible on: dare.tudelft.nl/stratos-ii so you won’t miss the launch!