efficacy of attaching a streamer to a rocketman drogue chute

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

FMarvinS

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
562
Reaction score
153
Has anyone attached a streamer to the loop at the crown of a Rocketman drogue chute? My tentative plan is to use a Rocketman drogue chute with a stretch of 5 to 10 feet of 1/4 inch kevlar cord tied to the chute's apical loop which in turn would be attached to a streamer. The hopes are to increase rocket visibility at apogee after the drogue chute release. I have concerns about entaglement which was experienced by one TRF member who attempted a similar setup. What are your thoughts, recommendations and experience if you used a similar setup?

Thanks,
Fred, Tripoli #15606
L2, ROSCO member
KG4YGP
 
I use the metal aluminum duct tape to put strips on my fins. They spin and flash in the sunlight and make the fin can very visible. I don't know it that would be better then the streamer you want, but it does work for me and I have zero problems with entanglements.
 
I haven't used the monokote film or aluminum tape myself (stupid me), but have seen it used and it is very effective.
 
One thing to remember is that on a windy day, the streamer will make your rocket drift more on descent (it gets blown sideways).
Not much drag vertically, but a fair amount of sideways drag to keep in mind.

I don't believe that is true at all. When a rocket comes down, it moves at the same speed as the air mass. It doesn't matter if it has a streamer or chute. The only motion relative to the rocket is in the vertical direction.
 
I don't believe that is true at all. When a rocket comes down, it moves at the same speed as the air mass. It doesn't matter if it has a streamer or chute. The only motion relative to the rocket is in the vertical direction.
Disagree, surface area matters.
 
Thank you for the informative responses. I like the fin-based aluminum tape strip response of Handeman which was confirmed by Zeus-cat. I also appreciate the caveats of John and crossfire about lateral drift with streamers. Crossfire also recommended a direct attachment of the streamer to the drogue chute rather than a kevlar cord interface. Any further recommendations, again one concern is entanglement between the drogue chute and the streamer. Finally, in order to maximize apogee visibility, it might pay to do both the fin-based aluminum tape and a large apical drogue streamer, any further thoughts?

Thanks again,
Fred
 
Kinda in-between a small cute and streamer lies the "X" chute.

They drop much, much faster than a standard chute the same size...i.e. 24 standard vs 24 X chute.

Easy to fold.don't take up much space. I use them on windy days, with rockets that can take a fast landing.

Topflight has a nice selection of them in Thinmill, standard & heavy duty.

https://topflightrecoveryllc.homestead.com/page1.html

If visibility is the only reason you are doing this, then aluminized mylar strip several feet long or hot pink tape used for survey marking is the ticket. 1 dollar for 300ft roll 1 in. wide. Put 20-40 ft on top of drogue.
It REALY does improve visibility.

Whole roll is barely larger than roll of electrical tape.
 
Last edited:
Kinda in-between a small cute and streamer lies the "X" chute.

They drop much, much faster than a standard chute the same size...i.e. 24 standard vs 24 X chute.

Easy to fold.don't take up much space. I use them on windy days, with rockets that can take a fast landing.

Topflight has a nice selection of them in Thinmill, standard & heavy duty.

https://topflightrecoveryllc.homestead.com/page1.html

If visibility is the only reason you are doing this, then aluminized mylar strip several feet long or hot pink tape used for survey marking is the ticket. 1 dollar for 300ft roll 1 in. wide. Put 20-40 ft on top of drogue.
It REALY does improve visibility.

Whole roll is barely larger than roll of electrical tape.

+1 on the Top Flight X-chutes.
 
One thing to remember is that on a windy day, the streamer will make your rocket drift more on descent (it gets blown sideways).
Not much drag vertically, but a fair amount of sideways drag to keep in mind.

Actually, that's not an issue. The distance a rocket drifts depends on it's descent speed and the wind speed. If the streamer makes the rocket descend slower then, yes, it will drift farther without it. But, a parachute with exactly the same descent rate will cause the rocket to drift the same distance as the streamer. There's no "sideways drag" since a rocket descends along a vector determined by it's descent rate and the wind speed. With the same descent rate and wind speed, it'll follow the same vector.

-- Roger
 
Actually, that's not an issue. The distance a rocket drifts depends on it's descent speed and the wind speed. If the streamer makes the rocket descend slower then, yes, it will drift farther without it. But, a parachute with exactly the same descent rate will cause the rocket to drift the same distance as the streamer. There's no "sideways drag" since a rocket descends along a vector determined by it's descent rate and the wind speed. With the same descent rate and wind speed, it'll follow the same vector.

-- Roger
So a small skinny rocket on a streamer will drift as far as a large fat one on a chute as long as they fall at the same rate?

Sideways wind is 100% effective?
 
So a small skinny rocket on a streamer will drift as far as a large fat one on a chute as long as they fall at the same rate?

Sideways wind is 100% effective?

Yes. A huge hot air balloon and a tiny rocket on a streamer will have the exact same horizontal velocity, given the same wind. They have zero horizontal velocity relative to the air around them, so no possibility for "sideways drag".
 
So a small skinny rocket on a streamer will drift as far as a large fat one on a chute as long as they fall at the same rate?

Yes. The average drift rate will be the wind speed multiplied by the time it takes to reach the ground.

Sideways wind is 100% effective?

There is no "sideways wind" to an object that is falling, so there's no answer to that question. If you are falling through the air, you're going to feel air rushing towards you. It'll be angled a bit based on the rate that you are falling and the wind speed. But, you aren't going feel a separate wind blowing from the side. It's the same for a rocket under 'chute or streamer.

-- Roger
 
Disagree, surface area matters.

Surface area matters for the vertical part. When a rocket is dropping through the air, it is moving with the air mass (it's moving relative to the ground at the same speed as the wind) That means there is zero speed difference between the air and the rocket relative to the ground. The only air movement the rocket feels is in a vertical direction cause by gravity.
 
There is no "sideways wind" to an object that is falling, so there's no answer to that question. If you are falling through the air, you're going to feel air rushing towards you. It'll be angled a bit based on the rate that you are falling and the wind speed. But, you aren't going feel a separate wind blowing from the side. It's the same for a rocket under 'chute or streamer.

-- Roger

Almost right, except it won't be angled even a little bit because of wind speed. The only air rushing past will feel straight vertical unless you have some aerodynamic shape that causes you to "fly" in one direction or another.
 
Almost right, except it won't be angled even a little bit because of wind speed. The only air rushing past will feel straight vertical unless you have some aerodynamic shape that causes you to "fly" in one direction or another.

Oops. Yes, you're right.

-- Roger
 
Last edited:
One of the best visibility streamers is a section of those mylar "confetti" door curtains you can get at party stores. When descending the mylar strings reflect lots of light. However they do need to be replaced every 10 or so flights as they aren't all that durable.
 
So a small skinny rocket on a streamer will drift as far as a large fat one on a chute as long as they fall at the same rate?

Sideways wind is 100% effective?

Still feels wrong, but I'll listen :)

I didn't quite get it until my brother, who never fired a rocket, but was a sky diver, explained it to me.

Consider an object that is slowly sinking under water. The surface winds can't affect it. It is going to flow along with the water. As you watch from shore, it will look like it speeds up, slows down, and changes direction based on the ebb and flow of the water, but it always moves at the same speed as the water around it.

Think of your rocket and the air mass as that object and water. As you stand in one spot and watch, it will look like it speeds up, slows down, and changes direction based on the ebb and flow of the air, but it will always move at the same speed as the air mass. The size and type of recovery only affects how fast it sinks, not how fast it moves with the air mass.

Hope that clears it up a little.
 
Thanks to all who responded. I enjoyed the interchange & I plan to utilize the streamer and fin based aluminum tape strips simultaneously to enhance visibility. For windy days, the X-chute would be handy. Also, the recommended sources of highly visible streamer material is much appreciated.

Best regards,
Fred
 
To my L1 rocket (Deep Space OFFL (Puns & Jokes)), I added strips of trim Monocote to the top of the body tube (and the ring mounted midway down), and the shoulder of the nosecone (to simulate a metal can). As it descended, the nosecone's shoulder was the most visible. You can see the flash in this video...

[video=youtube;GdhIjQXxOf4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdhIjQXxOf4[/video]
 
Thanks K'Tesh-a picture is worth 10,000 words-the benefits of the monocote are impressive as shown in your video.

Fred
 
The Mylar film streamers will offer an audible aide too. I have heard some rockets under streamer recovery before I had a visual on them.
 
Back
Top