It has cost us about a year, many a night’s worth of sleep, and maybe some of us have gained some grey hairs, but here it finally is: The Stratos II+.
To celebrate this milestone we organised a small, official unveiling of the rocket on 3 September. Here, in the presence of sponsors, and members of our society and their families (after all, at some point your mother will simply demand to know what you spend all the time on you don’t spend at home), we publicly showed the new design for the first time.
Before we uncovered the rocket, though, we took the opportunity to elaborate a bit on the inns and outs of the new rocket. In this presentation, that started at four, we covered the problems that caused the failure of last year, how these influenced the design philosophy for the changes in the Stratos II+, and the actual global changes in the rocket’s motor, electronics and capsule.
As the presentations drew to a close, around 17:00, the moment all had been waiting for finally arrived. Covered under a Dutch flag the Stratos II+ had been standing in the room since the beginning of the event.
The honour of removing the flag that covered it was given to Ralph and Martin. After the actual unveiling, the audience was given the opportunity to admire the rocket and other of flight hardware from up close, whilst enjoying a drink and of course cake.
In the end, it has been great to receive all this enthusiasm and support from friends, family and sponsors. There are still some bits and pieces that will have to be finished, tweaked and altered, but it is a great moral boost to actually see the rocket taking shape. So now we turn our gaze to the next milestone, which will be the second launch rehearsal on coming Friday. Slowly but steadily, we are actually getting closer and closer to flight-readiness.