Good Idea? Using additional streamers to track rockets.

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K'Tesh

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Do you think this would work, or just piss off property owners for littering?

Ok, here's my idea... Take various lengths of crepe paper ribbon (such as red or black), and tape a coin (say a Dollar or Half Dollar coin) on one end, and a small strip of silver Mylar film to the other. Put several of these inside the recovery bay(s) of rockets that are likely to go beyond visual range. Upon the ejection event, these are released, and then start falling.

The idea is that some may fall faster than than others, but as they descend, they will give you a visual clue as to where to look for your rocket under canopy. Also you can use them to help get an idea of the direction where your rocket went once on the ground. If lost, you're out whatever the coin was worth, but perhaps property owners may not be so upset if they find it later with a little cash reward.

Opinions?
 

Handeman

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It might work, but I would think it would not be very reliable since they are separated from the rocket. Of course the first solution is a GPS tracker or an RDF beacon. You can also use metallic tape, like the aluminum tape that is actually used on ducts, on your fins. I have a rocket with that on the fins and since the fin can spins pretty well under drogue, it looks like a strobe light on sunny days. Mylar streamer attached to the drogue would give you a better visual also. I think I would try some of those things before I would just dump cash out of a rocket. YMMV
 

K'Tesh

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It might work, but I would think it would not be very reliable since they are separated from the rocket. Of course the first solution is a GPS tracker or an RDF beacon. You can also use metallic tape, like the aluminum tape that is actually used on ducts, on your fins. I have a rocket with that on the fins and since the fin can spins pretty well under drogue, it looks like a strobe light on sunny days. Mylar streamer attached to the drogue would give you a better visual also. I think I would try some of those things before I would just dump cash out of a rocket. YMMV
Another possible benefit of dumping cash... Keeps the kiddies busy, and (hopefully) away from the rocket. I had a launch where one kid ran up to my rocket to recover it. He managed to misjudge his speed and stepped on it. :facepalm:
 

scsager

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A penny taped to a (free falling) streamer is described on page 266 of the Handbook of Model Rocketry 7th edition. Stine calls this a SAM Standard Altitude Marker.

For purposes of tracking a small rocket that goes out of visual range... I find a Mylar streamer attached to the rocket is the best/least expensive method. GPS or RF trackers are a great option, but might not be practical due to cost and added weight.
 

tomsteve

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that crepe paper is biodegradable and biodegrades pretty quick,ime. I don't think id use a coin though. think id want to have something non metallic to weight the streamer, especially of theres farmland around.
 

K'Tesh

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that crepe paper is biodegradable and biodegrades pretty quick,ime. I don't think id use a coin though. think id want to have something non metallic to weight the streamer, especially of theres farmland around.
Interesting point... Perhaps an individually wrapped candy instead.

Another thing about the idea... Should the electronics fail (and the motor ejection doesn't), you get another clue as to where to look.
 

les

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I also would be concerned with littering the ground unless you use biodegradable weights and streamers.

I would think you would need to trade off the weight (penny, candy, whatever) versus streamer length of the "marker streamers" versus the rocket itself. If they fall much slower (or faster) than the rocket you may track them instead of the real thing.
 

AlphaHybrids

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I know that at our flying fields that would definitely be littering - and we would probably lose our field.

Edward
 

Coop

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Just put a big streamer in the rocket and deploy at apogee... that way you don't have to look for a small canopy, but an appropriatly-sized drogue streamer.


Later!

--Coop
 

rharshberger

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I've heard suggestion of using part of a mylar tinsel door hanging curtain (like is sold as a party decoration) as part of the streamer as the individual strands waving in the airstream is very "sparkly".
 

John Beans

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Shiny streamer added to your deployment helps on sunny days, definitely. I learned the hard way that streamers, while they don't slow a heavy rocket much, do blow sideways quite well!
 

Buckeye

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K'Tesh said:
or Half Dollar coin
People under 50 years of age have probably never seen one of these!
 
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