The launch is getting near, and almost everybody has arrived at the launch site in Spain. Some of the team have been at the launch site for over a week now, and we are making serious progress. The final assembly of the rocket started today, in order to be ready for the dress rehearsal tomorrow. The injector was assembled, to prepare for final engine assembly and rocket integration. A small team left with 2 people from INTA to Ayamonte, to test the Flight Termination System receiver at a long range.
Today a large part of the assembly and integration of the rocket happened. That means that a bunch of systems that had previously only been assembled on their own have now been put together. This is in preparation for the internal dress rehearsal tomorrow. There we will test all of our procedures so that when the launch happens, we can make sure it goes smoothly. Seeing the painted parts of the rocket come together is really satisfying. Look forward to seeing the rocket on the tower tomorrow!
To be able to assemble the rocket the different components need to be put together as well. Today the injector manifold of the engine was assembled. The injector is the part that sprays the oxidizer into the engine in a way that the fuel can burn quickly. This is the part that looks like a showerhead in the middle of the image. The injector manifold holds the injector in place, and at the same time holds the pressure in the engine. This is a very critical part, as the flow of oxidizer through the engine is a very important part in how the engine functions. It is vital that the oxidizer cannot flow around the injector.
In order to make sure the flight termination system (FTS), which aborts the mission in case something goes wrong, is able to work throughout the entire flight, a small team travelled out to Ayamonte to test this system at range. The rocket is constantly receiving a signal from the ground that tells it that everything is fine. If the rocket were to lose this connection, the FTS will activate, and the mission will end. To prevent this, we test the connection from 60 km away. To verify that this won’t happen, this test was critical. 2 people from INTA came along with the test, since the transmission of the signal from the ground is done by INTA. This type of strong collaborations is what allows us to reach our limits.
by Daan van Heteren