Northwest Fort Worth) NASA-SLI test flight success!

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

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


Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2009
Reaction score
As some of you may have read, here on the forum, I'm proud to be the sponsor of a group of seven high school kids who are spending this academic year designing, building, and flying a high powered rocket carrying a scientific payload to one mile, and returning it to earth in order to complete the science experiment in a program sponsored by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The program, NASA-Student Launch Initiative, is a sister program to the University Student Launch Initiative where about 20 colleges are competing for prize money with the same challenge. The high schools, only 13 of us from across the United States, are in a non-competitive program where NASA provides some of the funds for the program , and the kids are responsible for raising the rest.

One of the requirements in the program was to build and fly a half-scale engineering model as a 'proof of concept', which we did in January: pix and movies on our web page at

On Saturday, March 13, we flew the full scale rocket (minus the payload of Ladybugs) with the TRA folks in Houston. It's a 9' tall 4 inch diamater dual deployment built from Blue Tube 2.0. It's flying a Perfectflite MAWD as the primary avionics, with a Featherweight Raven as the backup and acceleration recorder. We did not have to fly it on our motor of choice for the flight at Marshall in April (that'll be a 54mm Cesaroni K1400 - thanks to CTI and Chad Ellis / The Motorman for donating a 54mm 5grain motor case and forward closure to the program!) -- this time it flew on an 54mm Aerotech J415 to about 2550 feet (the MAWD says 2538 while the Raven reports 2551 and 2581 on it's two channels of altitude reporting). The drogue was a 24" with a spill hole, and the main a 72" K&S special with a custom design!

Thanks to Houston's Tripoli #002 for hosting the launch at the Hearne muni airport - it's been raining so much in north Texas that our available field in Waxahachie was a muddy mess, and we're still waiting for the FAA to slog the paperwork through for our Windom site.

Here are some pix - movies (including an onboard Boostevision capture) coming a bit later. More pix, too, on:

#1 - Jack Sprague (president of DARS) buttoning up the ebay after powering up the avionics and removing the safety shunts for the primary and main drogue and main charges
#2 - the obligatory souvenir shot: Me, Zach, Jacob, Tommy Tubbs (AP Physics teacher at Northwest - my co-sponsor), Suzy and Jack Sprague (our team's mentors), Tim, and Gabe
#3 - liftoff
#4 - looks just like a NASA shot!
#5 - the K&S main just opening at 700' (yeah, we misjudged the placement of the drogue a little bit - that'll change by about 10')

All in all, a beautiful day for flying - though the winds weren't out of the idea direction. If you've never been to Hearne and have the opportunity to fly with Houston Tripoli #002 and their great site at the Hearne municipal airport, come on out! They're a great bunch of folks! (I'm a mbmer of both Houston T002 and DARS).

Ebay closeup.jpg

Souvenier shot.jpg


Smoke trail.jpg

Drogeus out - here come de main.jpg