Personal Launch Report: NASA Houston Rocket Club 02 August 14

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:


Ordinary Average Guy
Jul 22, 2011
Reaction score
Let me start with the preparations (ie, yesterday)... You can skip this page if you want, I just think it is humorous, yet depressing at the same time...
Mrs and Daughter are out of town, so it's quiet here at the homestead. I started by cleaning out the minivan. Nothing great, just got rid of the old water bottles, receipts, papers, etc. There are still a handful of screwdrivers, wrenches and a set of jumper cables laying in the back mixed in with a layer of hay debris (from several "oh BTW..." trips to the feed store).
After that was complete I fed the animals, which is why I have to sit at home while they are on vacation. The chores complete it was time to get down to the business of rockets. I have not been to a club launch in quite some time, so this is not as easy as it sounds.

Went through the dungeon trying to decide what to fly. I had 3 motors that were assembled possibly a year ago, so I knew I wanted to burn them. I also knew that the Starship Vega was going, and possibly Thor.
After several hours of digging through the inventory, grilling a couple burgers, and wading through simulation files, I decided which rockets I could fly. (it's now about 10pm)
Mrs calls me in a panic, she has lost her debit card (several hours ago), and the customer service people wanted a lot of information which she refused to give, oh and BTW, needs a hotel room. Now a hotel for Mrs has to include a pool, preferably an indoor pool. (And has to be paid for with the points/miles that I gather with my job.) After about an hour of searching for just the right place and making the reservation, I call her back. Problem is, the hotel is not in her GPS. Log back in to the web page, look at the map & directions page, pull up the satellite view and it shows me a vacant lot... Oh good, it's brand new... Zooming in, I was able to locate a landmark that is in the GPS and she is on her way...

Back to rockets and preps. Went to the yahoo group for NHRC and downloaded the launch cards I would need. Weigh out each rocket, adjust the sim and fill out the cards. Now gather the nomex and parachutes... Oh crud, where did I stash them?? Dang it, still need to build the motor for the Vega.... So by the time I get everything together it approaching 1AM and the alarm is set for 6. This is gonna hurt. Get to bed, toss and turn until sometime after 2:19AM. I could not even think when the alarm woke me. Hit the snooze for an hour and 10 minutes before I could finally function. Crud, now I'm going to be late, but should have enough time to burn off the old motors before the range shuts down.
Arrived at 1030, range shuts down at noon, or normally does.

On to the real launch report....
(Crumby cell phone photos because I sat the box of motors on my camera so I couldn't find it... typical for me)

Now it is the begining of August in Houston Texas. Normally horribly hot and humid, but not today. Today the sky is overcast and the temp is around 80F!! Light wind, with mild gusts. Cloud base is about 3500ft according to the weather reports. Perfect since we have a 2000ft ceiling imposed by the landlord (NASA). Unbelievibly great day for rocket flying....

First up is the newly rebuilt 2.6" Standard ARM (or as I prefer, SM-2) on an E18W-4. This was originally a Cluster-R kit that I wrecked when the chute tangled and did not deploy. In fact the only parts from the original rocket are the shock cord & chute.....

Boost is straight, delay seemed long (bonus from being assembled and on the shelf??) Wind changes direction and the rocket floats toward the parking area... not good. Misses all 6 cars and lands in the grass on the range side of the parking area.

A few other folks took their turn punching holes in the sky while I got my next ship ready to go.
Last year, or was it the year before, I started a 1.9" down scale of a BSD Thor.

It got it's first flight on an E16-4W. Boost was great, arced over and pointed toward the ground accelerating. That 4 second delay felt like 8 before the rocket finally seperated and the fin can section was snatched by the shock cord. No damage amazingly.

OK, I'm getting brave by this time.... Madcow Little John. Hasn't flown since my cert flight 2 years ago. Grab the H128W-7 and try to shove it in the motor mount. No joy, uh-oh... Had to first remove the mud wasp nest from the motor tube, then it slide in, no problem... Guess I should cover all openings with tape when I hang rockets in the garage.
Here it is on the rail, but it was a last minute thought to get a photo, so it's difficukt to see...
Photo021.jpg (tried to use Paint to crop it, but it did not turn out too well)
Boost was straight, ejection just before the rocket started to lay over. Chute out and starting to inflate when the nose cone comes down on top of it, effectively reefing it into a streamer. Where does it land? No, not in the soft grass, on the concrete, about 30ft from the pad.
When it bounced, I saw a fin go wonky, but upon closer exam, it is a clean break, easily repaired... Just needs sanded and re-glued.
Yes, as has been said many times, the glue is stronger than the material. The fin has MMT and BT still attched.

My final trick of the day (since I forgot to bring my laptop. You know, the one with all the data for flight cards)
Starship Vega on an H250G-7.
Always a crowd pleaser, and did not fail this time... Straight boost, and when the smoke cleared as it coasted, we could see the glow of the propellant embers in the motor... (a lot like looking up the back end of a fighter jet...)
Ejection right at apogee, and the shock cord caught on one of the landing pods. She gracefully floated down, under chute, in a horizontal position and came to rest in the grass, no damage.

So, I got to burn some old motors. Only broke one, and that should be easily repaired.

And now a public service annoucement.... It has been mentioned before, but..... After you have had a day of flying rockets, recovering them from knee tall weeds, be sure you check yourself for ticks. I was bit by one on my forearm as I drove home today. Caught it as soon as it bit and threw it out onto I-10. Got home, fed the farm, and checked for more as I jumped into the shower, none found....

Y'all have a great evening!!!!


  • Photo020.jpg
    107.3 KB · Views: 20