Project Sasquatch (24" diameter Madcow Squat)

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I saw the flight at LDRS41. I also heard a rumor you couldn't find it afterwards and needed to use a drone to find it. Any true to that? Or was it just easier to spot with a drone rather than walking through all the brush and trees searching for it?
 
I saw the flight at LDRS41. I also heard a rumor you couldn't find it afterwards and needed to use a drone to find it. Any true to that? Or was it just easier to spot with a drone rather than walking through all the brush and trees searching for it?
I’ll preface the short version of the story with the fact that I grew up flying in the southwest. Essentially all I ever knew was lakebeds and wide open ranges. Corn was a good you ate at a BBQ, not a crop that could conceal rockets.

Everyone has seen this thread, it’s a 24” diameter rocket! It’s HUGE! It weighs ~200pounds, and has a 28ft chute on a flight to barely 3,000ft.

Shocked doesn’t begin to describe the feeling after ~6 hour of looking with four separate groups, and not a sign of the thing…at all…nothing.

It didn’t occur to me (never had to solve the problem of “lost mega rocket”) to use a drone. Right at sunset as I call off the search party and need to head to the banquet, I hear from a group of flyer that they had a drone, and knew exactly where it was.

:facepalm:

Duh! A drone. Of course.

So Sunday morning, I find a friend with a drone, and sure enough 60 seconds later we’ve found it.

That’s enough for now.

Mind you that is only half the story. Couldn’t park anywhere close to it, and hauling a 200pound, 8ft wide rocket out of 8ft tall corn…was memorable.



And to all the locals that asked me, “what kind of tracker did I put in it? You didn’t fly without one, right?”. I wish you would have mentioned it sooner. I’ve got a trailer full of tracking equipment and I didn’t bother. I built this beast big and silly and did’t ever expect that *loosing it* was even an option.
 
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And to all the locals that asked me, “what kind of tracker did I put in it? You didn’t fly without one, right?”. I wish you would have mentioned it sooner. I’ve got a trailer full of tracking equipment and I didn’t bother. I built this beast big and silly and don’t ever expect that *loosing it* was even an option.

Lance Licktieg from the KLOUDBusters has a question related to that: "What rocket do you put a tracker in?" The answer? "Any rocket you want to get back"

It's a lesson a lot of us, including me, have learned the hard way. I had a rocket I flew on I motors. The rocket I lost it on? G38.

-Kevin
 
Do you happen to have photos that show more detail on where the beer keg was, and what the containment was around it?

I'm looking at the failure photos that @Capt. Eric posted, and it's possible that the airframe collapsed a bit, instead of the nosecone.

If I'm not mistaken, both from seeing the rocket (but never looking at it closely) and reviewing how you built it, it appears this is a conventional "blow the nose off" deployment? Assuming that's the case, does the bottom of the nosecone sit against the top centering ring? Or when the nose is attached, is there a gap?

-Kevin
 
From the comments and photos, others have considered that there was structural failure on one stringer. My first thought was drag sep (only), but I tend to agree that primary was the partial collapse at the nose/body. Drag sep would follow once air got into the aft section and the lower-drag & heavy nose kept going.

Quick WAG: 50 pound payload with 10 g's = 500 pounds on whatever was supporting the mini keg. Maybe 2x the force of the payload on the BALLS flight?
 
Do you happen to have photos that show more detail on where the beer keg was, and what the containment was around it?

I'm looking at the failure photos that @Capt. Eric posted, and it's possible that the airframe collapsed a bit, instead of the nosecone.

If I'm not mistaken, both from seeing the rocket (but never looking at it closely) and reviewing how you built it, it appears this is a conventional "blow the nose off" deployment? Assuming that's the case, does the bottom of the nosecone sit against the top centering ring? Or when the nose is attached, is there a gap?

-Kevin
Here's a link to a video by my friend Joe Z (supplied the beer). It does show the beer/nose cone arrangement, but not the structure supporting it. Also the aftermath in the field.

 
It looks like the nose and body landed in separate spots. Did you find sections of the lower portion of the nosecone with the main body?
 
It looks like the nose and body landed in separate spots. Did you find sections of the lower portion of the nose cone with the main body?
I saw the piles in the field (I was recovering another rocket of mine when it flew) but since I am not all that familiar with the structure, and I didn't want to pick through someone else's rocket, I couldn't answer that definitively. But my guess is that the nose cone was complete and intact on its way down. In the stills I can see a few small pieces had broken off I think just the body (?). Yes, the 2 parts landed a few yards apart. The chute and shock cord separated (should have come down under one chute).

I still haven't gotten home yet, but I will be today. In the next day or two I'll have more stills posted for Bryce and whoever to dissect.
 
Just wondering /conjecture: Is there any chance that it sustained internal damage at Black Rock from the nose cone tip poking at the side of the lower nose cone on landing? Like possibly cracking one of the stringers?

Hans.
 
Just ere any chance that it sustained internal damage at Black Rock from the nose cone tip poking at the side of the lower nose cone on landing? Like possibly cracking one of the stringers?

Hans.

No. 100 percent drag seperation. Let's not forget it had a pony keg in the nose cone. There is always always open volume either filler wi Co or nitrogen.
Remember why Elon decided to hot stage? Same principles.
 
No. 100 percent drag seperation. Let's not forget it had a pony keg in the nose cone. There is always always open volume either filler wi Co or nitrogen.
Remember why Elon decided to hot stage? Same principles.
I saw a photo someone else posted where it looked like the nose cone caved into one side of the body during the flight and before separation. I guess that could've happened after drag separation, but I initially thought that was a smoking gun photo showing some structural failure. I can't recall where I saw it though.
 
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I saw a photo someone else posted on Facebook where it looked like the nose cone caved into one side of the body during the flight and before separation. I guess that could've happened after drag separation, but I initially thought that was a smoking gun photo showing some structural failure. I can't recall where I saw it though.
It was probably in the LDRS thread where @Capt.Eric posted a pic showing the nose intact, but very bent in the middle.

Hans.
 
OK folks, I am home now and just went through my pictures of the Sasquatch flight. Yes, those were my pictures in the LDRS thread that showed the "bent" nose cone. (Actually, my wife took them as I was at the Oasis on a recovery mission.) I offer here now a much more complete set of pictures and observations. Note that I will not make conclusions here. I sent Bryce these pictures and my thoughts, but I am not here to publicly claim I know a darn thing about what actually happened up there. I only know what I saw and what the pictures show, but that's not the same thing as knowing what happened.

So here goes. There are 15 frames, plus my observations.

Here are some comments and clarification on the frames:
  • Frames 1-3 show normal flight. Frame 3 is the last frame before anything abnormal is apparent.
  • Frames 3 through 12 are consecutive frames, as taken from my camera, which should be about 7 frames per second.
  • Frames 13-15 show the main body section coming down. There are other frames between them, but I don’t see any other details in them, so haven’t bothered to include them here.
  • Frame 15 shows the body about to impact the ground. Impact actually happens behind the purple rocket on the pad, so not much is seen. Frames after also don’t show much.
  • My wife was actually the one taking these pictures, and she did not try to take any other pictures of the nose cone section or parachute. Sorry. If you watch the video I linked above from Joe Z., it shows Bryce with the nose cone debris.
1 (just because it's cool!):
Sasquatch 1.JPG

2 (looking good and accelerating):
Sasquatch 2.JPG

3 (Last frame before abnormalities. Note wider, shorter flame.):
Sasquatch 3.JPG

4 (the NC is starting to lean to one side.):
Sasquatch 4.JPG

5 (the NC is off, chute is out. Looks like a chunk of something has also come off and is seen near the fin tip. (I don’t think that is shock cord or chute protector, which is above the piece I refer to). Question - If there was drag separation, wouldn't the nose cone be continuing on above the body, not hanging alongside it?):
Sasquatch 5.JPG

6 - 12 (pieces of debris are seen falling behind/below the rocket. What parts are these?)
Sasquatch 6.JPG
7:
Sasquatch 7.JPG
8:
Sasquatch 8.JPG
9:
Sasquatch 9.JPG
10 (the chute is inflating, and a zipper has occurred that was found and noted in the debris. The shock cord to the body has snapped or been cut.):
Sasquatch 10.JPG
11 (the NC shock cord has snapped.):
Sasquatch 11.JPG
12 (A section (mid-body?) of the body tube seems to be falling off to the left. Unfortunately, my wife taking the pictures stopped here, and resumed after a few moments when the largest body tube section is on the way down (Frames 13-15, which are non-consecutive)):
Sasquatch 12.JPG
13 (I note the leading edge of the body tube is very jagged. I didn’t examine/compare the colored stripes, but suspect there are some missing colors? (The detached mid-body section coming off in frame 12?)):
Sasquatch 13.JPG
14:
Sasquatch 14.JPG
15:
Sasquatch 15.JPG


Again, I am not an expert here, so I am not posting my theories or conclusions.

It was a cool project and flight (and also its prior flight). I thank Bryce for bringing it to NY and sharing it with the larger rocketry community. Projects like these are not just entertaining to watch, but they inspire others to exceed what what they have seen, and excite young folks to become involved in the future of the hobby and the science. So in my book, this was a great success, even though no one got to drink the beer.
 
Looking more at the pictures and how this rocket is assembled....

If I understand assembly correctly, the entire nosecone comes off for ease of transport. For flight, the lower portion of the nosecone is bolted to the airframe, and the upper portion of the nosecone is where it separates for the recovery event.

Based on photos, I do not think this is a drag separation. Yes, there's 50+ pounds of additional mass from the keg in the nose, but the photos don't show a drag separation. Instead, they show things leaning off to the side.

I suspect one of two things happened - first, as Bryce said, it's possible a stringer failed. I believe he means a stringer below the separation point in the nosecone. Second, the tube itself may have collapsed, which would lead to the same result.

Either is possible, and based on the photos I've seen, I'm not sure it's possible to know for sure which one it is.

Regardless, this was a well executed project and I'm sorry to see it fail like this.

-Kevin
 
The picture is a snapshot of the motion. If you watch the video of them loading the keg, it is at the far aft of the nose cone. Once the nose separates from the body, all the base drag in the world won't be enough to keep it from tumbling, IMO.
Having said that, I really know nothing about how it was built and most of this thread is mere speculation.
The pictures will be very valuable for those knowledgeable, I am sure they are grateful.
 
Thank you everyone who has contributed photos, videos, and theories.

Failures can be complicated, multifaceted, and hard to pin down, especially once the evidence is all cleaned up.

A couple common questions that maybe don’t show up well in the build thread that hopefully help people out.

The vehicle was built in three pieces.

1) The booster, holds the motor, the fins, and is a 6ft long piece of fiberglassed 24” sonotube.

It gets bolted with 7x 1/4-20 bolts to the…

2) Lower nosecone. The heaviest and most complex piece of the project. Roughly 5 ft long and necks down from 24” at the base to ~18” at the top. It contains the hatch for the avionics sled, and the central PML 11.7” tube houses the single QS-550 parachute. It is primarily made of ribs and stringers from 1/4” plywood, some 3/4” plywood was used in key areas for strength.

3) The upper nosecone mates to the lower nosecone via a 5” long piece of 11.7” PML coupler. Four small hatches in the lower nosecone allow access to the shear pin locations after mating. In the upper nosecone is a 2ft piece of 10” sonotube that houses the nose weight, in this case a 5 gallon pony keg weighing ~52pounds. The tip is 6” of 3D printed plastic which was designed to crush on landing and be replaceable, it survived the first flight, snapped cleanly off and was glued back on after the second, and broke in transport to LDRS this year and was replaced at the field in NY.
 
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The tip is 6” of 3D printed plastic which was designed to crush on landing and be replaceable, it survived the first flight, snapped cleanly off and was glued back on after the second, and broke in transport to LDRS this year and was replaced at the field in NY.

That's a really cool idea I hadn't ever noticed, even having seen this rocket up close multiple times
 
another thing to remember that this rocket, with the keg of beer, flew successfully at BALLS last year. The beer wasn't half bad, given it got a good shake-up before serving
 
I haven’t mentioned it here. But Sasquatch 2.0 will be built. It will probably be a winter project this year.

I’m planning to reuse most of the design with certain upgrades.

The booster and fins worked perfectly but a couple small tweaks to the fin attachment will make installing them a bit quicker. Probably will update the motor mount to 8” to accommodate a short 8” case I am having made right now.

I am thinking about the idea of a side hatch chute cannon instead of the tradition coupler-sliding joint. This would hopefully eliminate the potential for drag separation in the future. It would also eliminate the annoying shear pin attachment method in the burying internal tube.

Many many many aspects of this project were extraordinarily successful. I really wanted to share this project with the community, and at Black Rock every year my dream is to provide a gathering place and watering hole for the community to get together and hang out after the range closes.

I look forward to continuing this project and learning from the small issues to make a rocket that is big, impressive, a great flyer, and make it a regular at LDRS/BALLS every year for years to come.
 
Send me a PM if I can contribute anything. This was up there with Wildman or Deuces Wild.
 
I haven’t mentioned it here. But Sasquatch 2.0 will be built. It will probably be a winter project this year.

I’m planning to reuse most of the design with certain upgrades.

The booster and fins worked perfectly but a couple small tweaks to the fin attachment will make installing them a bit quicker. Probably will update the motor mount to 8” to accommodate a short 8” case I am having made right now.

I am thinking about the idea of a side hatch chute cannon instead of the tradition coupler-sliding joint. This would hopefully eliminate the potential for drag separation in the future. It would also eliminate the annoying shear pin attachment method in the burying internal tube.

Many many many aspects of this project were extraordinarily successful. I really wanted to share this project with the community, and at Black Rock every year my dream is to provide a gathering place and watering hole for the community to get together and hang out after the range closes.

Have you considered the exploding bolt approach that my group has used on big projects? Solves the need to figure out how to make reliable large couplers.

Looking forward to what you cook up next!

-Kevin
 
Have you considered the exploding bolt approach that my group has used on big projects? Solves the need to figure out how to make reliable large couplers.

Looking forward to what you cook up next!

-Kevin
Absolutely considering it. We’ll talk.
 
Gonna upgrade to a 'real' keg for 2.0? :p
Not this time. I want it to fly comfortably on Class 2 motors in order for it to fly more times in more places.

The upscale Sasquatch will be built. But I’ll need a team. This rocket as designed was chosen to be the largest that I can single handedly build and manipulate around the workshop. Much bigger and it will be a much more difficult project. Soon though.
 
Not this time. I want it to fly comfortably on Class 2 motors in order for it to fly more times in more places.

The upscale Sasquatch will be built. But I’ll need a team. This rocket as designed was chosen to be the largest that I can single handedly build and manipulate around the workshop. Much bigger and it will be a much more difficult project. Soon though.
What the heck, I'm local... I'd love to help with Sasquatch 2.0!
 
Not this time. I want it to fly comfortably on Class 2 motors in order for it to fly more times in more places.

The upscale Sasquatch will be built. But I’ll need a team. This rocket as designed was chosen to be the largest that I can single handedly build and manipulate around the workshop. Much bigger and it will be a much more difficult project. Soon though.

Bigger?!

Yeah, as they get bigger, the number of hands required definitely goes up! Experience also tells me that you do reach a point of diminishing returns on team side.

Curious to see where you head with this :)

-Kevin
 
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