Small Rocket Project – the conclusion

It’s been a few months since I did my last post, and a lot has happened since then regarding the Small Rocket Project (SRP).

The SWEGG rocket, ready for assembly.

Most importantly: We launched our rocket! Last week we worked through a few nights to get the rocket finished just in time. We travelled together to ASK ‘t Harde where we would launch our rockets. There we had to assemble our rocket for the last time and show it to NAVRO, the rocket experts that did the final safety check on our rocket. One small adjustment to the parachute size and our rocket was approved for flight.

Then it was time to relax a bit before the big day. We had dinner together with all the SRP groups, drank some beers and told stories at the campfire. The next morning we woke up early because there was a limited time window for all the rocket launches. We helped set up the 6-meter launch tower and went back to the observation area. The first rocket to launch was actually a more professional rocket from a team based in Austria. After a few more launches it was our turn.

The SWEGG rocket, leaving the launch tower

 

Two of our group members went to set up the rocket for launch. Sadly, the camera we had put in the rocket would not turn on right before the launch, pressed for launch we went ahead without the camera. But I was really stoked to finally see our rocket soaring up into the sky. It all went smooth, and then it started coming down again. It went down, and down… but the parachute didn’t open. With 65 km/h, the rocket crashed into the ground, with no chance of the egg staying whole.

 

A few hours later the military returned our rocket, which was smashed into a dozen pieces and the egg was scrambled, to say the least. But it didn’t matter, we were happy, and the data from the sensors survived. Tired, but with a sense of accomplishment, we went home.

The rocket after it was retrieved

Below you can see some of the data we retrieved from the rocket. With the most important stats being:

-Height reached: ~700 m

-Acceleration: 8+ g’s for 1 second during launch

-Top speed: ~430 km/h

After some investigation, we found that the battery we used was not strong enough to set off the pyro that was used to deploy the parachute. Lesson learnt for next time!

 

Jillis is currently a member of the Stratos III electronics team. He gained significant practical experience after joining the Small Rocket Project. In his next post, Jillis will be telling more about his job within Stratos III in the next post! Are you curious about the footage from the day itself? Check out the video below!