"Steve" - A "Near-Minimum Diameter" Rocket

EeebeeE

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It's been a long time since I posted a build, and I was just looking at the L1000 project and decided that in that same spirit, I would post this little gem. I had a 2.6" FG nose cone left over from a FG Mad Cow Arcas that crashed a few years ago. I also had a 2.6" plastic nose cone left over from a scratch build that shredded (I tend to fly rockets to their extremes, so crashing or shredding is a common issue with me). and a 30" length of thin wall 2.6" airframe that I accidentally ordered, but decided to keep becasue I knew I'd probably have a project for it later. Well ... Later is now.

There was a Coors Light Commercial in the late 1990's about a snowflake named "Steve." This became the theme for this rocket. "A rocket... any rocket. Let's call it, 'Steve.'

The design is a simple 4-fin rocket. It will have a dual-depoy chute release system mounted in the nose cone. The chute release eliminates the need for an AV bay, and allows me to insert 54mm L's into the motor tube. The plastic nose cone will be cut to form a tailcone. While this will only reduce the aft diameter by 1/4" or so, that small reduction translates to almost 1,000' more in altitude according to sims.

There will be an internal bulkhead that separates the booster section from the payloard, recovery section. This should enable me to friction fit the motor into the tube because without the ejection charge going into the motor section (since the motor charge will be removed) there is nothing to blow the motor out the aft end. I will include a small vent hole in the booster section to further prevent internal pressures from pushing out the motor. This also reduces the volume of the section of the rocket the charges are located, reducing the amount of BP necessary to eject the nose cone. There will also be a 1/4" x 20 bolt stick throught the bulkhead anyway that I can screw the in the event I have to work with an overzealous RSO.

A second removable bulkhead just above the booster section bulkhead will enable me to house a video camera whose lens will be positioned slightly indented into the airframe, but look out horizontally. I might add a mix of JB Weld, filler and glass fibers forward of the lens hole to form a small heat shield as well.

The dual-deploy chute release will be controlled by my Raven 3 altimeter, which will enable me to have a backup apogee charge as well. The backup charge will deploy 1 second after the initial, and I may include biodegradeable glitter in it which should reflect sunlight and give me ground visibility, at least temporarily. The chute release will work by securing the chute inside a "nomex burrito" that is held in place by fishing line. An e-match will fire, whihc will immediately snap th fishing line, releasing the chute. I have a similar device I designed and am using now, and it works exceptionally well.

Fins are 1/8" CF which I cut and areodynamically tapered both fore and aft. It will be painted with engine paint (Chevy Engine Orange), and I will rig up an oven with my gas grill to bake the paint to activate heat protection to 550 degrees F. This is probably not enough heat protection, but the primer is good to 1.300 degrees. The fins will be clearcoated with engine gloss. Baking procedure is to heat the paint to 200 degrees once it is dry. This may soften the epoxy a little, but if I am careful, it should harden back up once it cools. the FG can handle up to 600 degrees, so it should be OK.

First time I've worked with CF, and I discovered that tapering the fins was a lot like sharpening a pencil. Fine black graphie everywhere.

A Beeline Tracker will also be mounted in the nose.

This is the basic configuration, and initial construction photos. It sims to 22,000' on a CTI L935 and should go well past Mach 2. Steve as of 1-30-21 - Finished Appearance.jpg Steve as of 1-30-21.jpg
 
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EeebeeE

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Here are some of the build photos to this point. Basic components. Fins being mounted and aligned. Size compariosn to a MadCow 3" ISQY Tomahawk, and the completed airframe assembly. Steve 03.5.jpg Steve 04.jpg Steve 05.jpg Steve 06.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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THis is the inspiration for the name. "I'll call it ... 'Steve.'"
 

Jee3300R

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Nice!
Would love to see it go up at URRG on a big K. The onboard footage would be beautiful, you’d probably be able to see most of the finger lakes and maybe even Lake Ontario from the height.
 

EeebeeE

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Nice!
Would love to see it go up at URRG on a big K. The onboard footage would be beautiful, you’d probably be able to see most of the finger lakes and maybe even Lake Ontario from the height.
Horizontally facing, the camera should be able to see across Lake Ontario provided the day is absolutely clear. The altitude is high enough, but the crap and humidity in the sky reduces the visibility range. I could fly a K1200 there. Cannot go to a an L. I would not want to have anything there that sims more than 16,000', which is 90% of the waiver. That should still get it to above Mach 2.

This was taken a tad more than 2 miles above above Geneseo, NY frm a rocket with a horizontally facing HD camera. It was facing north and that launch site is a little closer to Lake Ontario than Geneseo. If you Google Earth the location and go to this altitude you would expect to see the lake, but though the visiblity was good, the cloud cover got in the way. I was more than a mile above the cloud layer in this shot. Fantastic photo, but it would need to be a completely cloudless day to get a good shot. I did get one from another flight, but the lake was barely visible. vlcsnap-2019-10-25-00h21m59s358.png
 
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EeebeeE

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A CTI K1200 Could work there and it would still hit Mach 2. That's about 70% of a K. So could an Aerotech K1103. Both would put it up around 15,000'. I'd rather not fly something that sims to more than 16,000' there because motor burn measurement can be up to 20% hotter or colder than the stated total NS. Plus, I few a rocket to 15,000' there once and it landed 3 miles away.
 

Jee3300R

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This was taken a tad more than 2 miles above above Geneseo, NY frm a rocket with a horizontally facing HD camera. It was facing north and that launch site is a little closer to Lake Ontario than Geneseo. If you Google Earth the location and go to this altitude you would expect to see the lake, but though the visiblity was good, the cloud cover got in the way. I was more than a mile above the cloud layer in this shot. Fantastic photo, but it would need to be a completely cloudless day to get a good shot. I did get one from another flight, but the lake was barely visible.

I have been over 17k five times and and only on 2 flights I think I saw it. All it takes is the slightest bit of haze. Here’s a view from 17,500.
 

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Jee3300R

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A CTI K1200 Could work there and it would still hit Mach 2. That's about 70% of a K. So could an Aerotech K1103. Both would put it up around 15,000'. I'd rather not fly something that sims to more than 16,000' there because motor burn measurement can be up to 20% hotter or colder than the stated total NS. Plus, I few a rocket to 15,000' there once and it landed 3 miles away.

I vote for the K1103. Outperformed the K1200 (in boosting a 4” two stage).
 

EeebeeE

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Nice!
Would love to see it go up at URRG on a big K. The onboard footage would be beautiful, you’d probably be able to see most of the finger lakes and maybe even Lake Ontario from the height.

BTW... These shots are from a flight to 9,000' there 5 years ago. I had a MadCow FG Arcas that kissed Mach 1 on a J530. This rocket is the same diameter, but shorter in length and has a tailcone. This was unfortunately the last flight of this Arcas. The apogee charge failed to separate the rocket

Arcas Launch Photo 042316 - Keuka Lake.png Arcas Launch Photo 042316 - Mach Fin Flutter and Sound Waves.png Arcas Launch Photo 042316 - Torrey Farms.jpg
 

EeebeeE

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I did manage to get Lake Ontario from Geneseo once on a very clear day from 7,800' You have to squint to see it. Punk 01 - Lake Ontario.png
 
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