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Temperature Limits

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gladiator1332

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I have been meaning to go launch for months now, but I want to go to a larger launch field so that I won't lose anymore rockets, but soccer was going on there almost all day during weekends and all evening during the week, so I have been waiting it out. Finally soccer is done and I have a vacant field, (actually about 8 soccerfields and a huge baseball field to launch from. But now the cold temperatures stand in my way, I live in the North East, and lately we have been having temperatures in teens and the 20's and wind chills of 6 or 7. Right now its 19! BRRRRR! I want to go launching this weekend, are there any temperature limits for launching rockets?
 

rabidsheeep

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not that i know of... ive never tried a snow launch but im dying to... i did launch once when it was about 30 degrees out... i figured that the trees had no leaves so i might have a better return rate...

did i mention how lucky you are!?!?! lol the field i have is equivalent to about 3 jr. high football fields and a little league baseball field...
 

rocket trike

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We have launched all kinds of temps here in South Dakota. Just keep your motors int the car where it warm until you are ready to launch them.
 

gladiator1332

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Thats good to hear.

The field is great, but it is busier around there, it is right by the town rec center and it is only good for launching during the winter and some times during the summer spring and fall it is used for soccer, and sometimes during the summer there are soccer camps. I haven't launched here yet, I did see my first rocket launches here around 10 years ago, some guy and his son were launcing and me and a bunch of other kids got to chase after there rockets. We had asked them if we can run after the rockets and go get them for him, boy were they happy that we were around! There is a bunch of woods lining it to the left, but very rarely did any of the rockets he launched go far enough left, except one, the engine got pushed in too far and they still decided to launch it...beautiful take off and then KA-BOOM! the entire engine mount blew out and the body tube and went flying deep into the woods...the first CATO I ever got to see. The only other dangers for a rocket there are the new lights they installed, but they go right down the center, but what are the odds that a rocket will hit them, with such a small object (not counting my Richter Recker and Mean Machine) it has to be hard to drift into them. I should be safe to aim the rockets a little right..

The field I normally launch at is a football field and a little leage baseball field and it is surrounded by woods. Of all the rockets I have launched there only 3 of them remain. All the rest are in trees and I lost two in CATO's.

My first launch at the new site will be with small rockets like the Estes Hi-Flier and a few other small ones. I want to take out my Long OverDue, but I want to get to know the area. I also finally have my NAR membership card, so if anyone takes me for some pyro or something I can show them the card and look all official.:D
 

gladiator1332

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I have also been wanting to try a snow launch for a while now. Next snowstorm I am deffinatley going to have to get to the field and launch some rockets. Can't take any of my white rockets though!:D
 

rocket trike

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When launching in snow I have learned to take the motors out right away or wait for a while if the rocket lands in snow. Crashinj and I both had the motor get wet and swell up. Neither of us figure this out until it was to late. They are very hard to get out when they swell up.
 

jflis

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heck, we used to hold our "Kelvin" meets out on the middle of a frozen lake in New Hampshire... LOL

yea, fire & smoke & ice... good mix

in fact, I have often dreamed of hosting a HPR meet in the middle of our largest lake - 425,000 acres of **flat** -- not bad for New Hampshire! LOL

jim
 

gladiator1332

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I have dreamed of frozen lake launches, beach launches, and my craziest dream is to launch a some-how water proof rocket from a floatable launch platform towed behind a boat in the ocean. The rocket would also have to float. The boat would then pull up to the rocket and it would be scooped up in a fishing net. How many laws would be broken there!:D
 

Fore Check

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Well,

The good new is that the ambient temperature will not greatly affect your motors and allow you to launch wonderfully. The tip of keeping your motors in your warm vehicle until you're ready to use them is a a great suggestion, but you certainly will not ruin them by letting them get *really* cold - that will just make the propellant a lower temperature, making it more difficult (or requiring more work) to raise that propellant to a sufficient tremperature to initiate deflagration (LAUNCH!!)

But enough of that crap.

Keep your motors in your car or truck so that your ignition success rate is higher and - above all else - POWDER YOUR CHUTES!!! - and everything will be more enjoyable than the hot chocolate on the ride home.

In the cold, your chutes will be a heck of a lot more stiff and all that nonsense. Dust them moderately to generously with baby or talc powder to improve your chances of safe recovery. Blah, blah, blah, that whole bit has been discussed here and all over the place a *lot.* I don't mean to sound like an expert, just don't forget that. It'd be a shame to send up a great launch into zero degree air only to have the rocket crash on the ice because the 'chute stuck to itself.

Bring the kids, bring a sled, bring your snowball-launching alter ego, and above all else: HAVE FUN!!

And save me some hot chocolate!
 

Fore Check

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Originally posted by gladiator1332
I have dreamed of frozen lake launches, beach launches, and my craziest dream is to launch a some-how water proof rocket from a floatable launch platform towed behind a boat in the ocean. The rocket would also have to float. The boat would then pull up to the rocket and it would be scooped up in a fishing net. How many laws would be broken there!:D
What about those styrofoam boost gliders you see all over eBay these days??

Who makes 'em.... Holverson or something like that? How about waterproof AND bouyant in the same rocket pakage? :cool:
 

gladiator1332

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But I would like the challenge of designing a rocket that is both water proof and can float.

What could you cover the body tube with that would keep it from soaking through?

For floating plastic nosecones that have all holes filled in can work. Or Fishing Floats, those would deffinatley work. I'll have to draw up some plans, whether I will ever be able to actually launch it, I don't know, but if someone else would want to try it out atleast some plans would be there.
 

Gus

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Greetings from the similarly chilly midwest.

I coerced the kids out last weekend for an "End of Christmas Break" launch, temp about 25 degrees. It was my first cold weather launch in a long time.

Lessons learned:

1. The "wind-chill-factor" tends to be a lot more pronounced on your big empty launch range than it does in your garage, dress really really warm.

2. Plastic chutes want to stay folded when they're cold (frozen). Open each one and repack it just before launch (I figured this out by the 3rd launch javascript:smilie(':kill:')).

3. If there's no snow, the ground will be REALLY hard, so 'chute failures have an even greater impact (so to speak) than on a nice warm summer day.

4. Plastic parts get really brittle at 25º. We lost the nosecone from a SkyWriter (the little plastic attach point for the shock cord broke off on ejection), and a D to C combination on a Snitch shot the C sustainer engine up through the top of the engine mount (it still lit). Pretty impressive considering the booster was just masking-taped to the sustainer engine and had no direct connection to the rocket itself (I thought I had a good friction fit on the C but my hands were kinda cold, so who knows).

5. Motors, which I kept outside with the rest of our stuff, did just fine.

6. I broke no fins, but did loosen a few, which made me question whether the temperature played a role on the fillets (both white glue and epoxy-clay fillets came loose on hard landings). It may have just been the increased ground hardness, though.

7. Surprisingly, my little Estes Electron Beam launcher generated enough juice just fine, but if you've got anything with more power, I'd use it.

8. A Screamin' Mimi will do a really cool backwards glide (at about 35 mph) if the parachute stays completely furled. The whistles actually worked, however, in the cold dense air (we've never heard them on previous launches).

9. If you're bringing along the kids, bring plenty of candy, prep time between rockets is a lot longer with cold hands.

10. Whatever enjoyment points that got subtracted for physical discomfort were more than balanced out by the extra points we got back for stupid pointless winter fun (there was no snow, so I couldn't take the kids sledding).

Kid quote of the day: "Dad, this was a bad idea but I'm having lots of fun!"

Adult quote of the day: "Like, the whole Challenger thing went right over your head, didn't it?"

All in all, a great day. More rocket damage than usual but definitely worth it.
 

jflis

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Best way to keep your motors warm is to just pop them into your mouth untill you are ready..... hhmm, uh, no, wait-a-minute... ...that's bait...

never mind...

:kill:
 

jetra2

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Originally posted by jflis
Best way to keep your motors warm is to just pop them into your mouth untill you are ready..... hhmm, uh, no, wait-a-minute... ...that's bait...

never mind...

:kill:
Did anyone just go EWWWWWWWWW at that?

In the words of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons: "There is not an emoticon for what I am feeling right now!"

Jason
 

xxxREKxxx

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I'm thinking that maybe this cold snap will freeze Pleasnt Lake hard enogh to send up the Drake this weekend. I have to borrow the snow machine from a buddy to track it down so I have to be extra careful. Fortunately he's a rocketeer too. Hopefully I'll have some photos by Monday.
Bob
 

dtomko

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Gladiator,
I've launched in very cold weather and the only problems I've had are with plastic parachutes. Just be sure to open them before each launch and dust them with baby powder.
Your area sounds exactly like mine; you're not in Warwick, NY, are you? The new lights at our soccer fields scare me, although they're higher than some of my rockets can go! I tend to launch at an elementary school field that's pretty large.
Drew Tomko
 

rabidsheeep

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Originally posted by jflis
Best way to keep your motors warm is to just pop them into your mouth untill you are ready..... hhmm, uh, no, wait-a-minute... ...that's bait...

never mind...

:kill:
DONT LAUGH!!! i was once trying to get a motor out of an engine and it was a fresh motor and i was too lazy to go downstairs and get my plyers so i ended up trying to bite down on the thing and get it out... sadly the cardboard gave in and i had gunpowder in my mouth... i was gonna call the poinson hotline cause i didn't know if i was like gonna die... i still have the engine...
 

gladiator1332

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I'm in northern New Jersey.

It's going to be chilly on Saturday. The weather bug forcast says:

Saturday
Partly Sunny
High: 21º F
Low: 12º F

Hopefully the wind wont be blowing hard when I launch.

For saturday I am using the normal plastic chutes, except the Hi-Flier which uses a streamer (I better meake sure I have those fins on there really good) Where can I get the cloth chutes I have heard some people talk about? And what do I need to do to get them so I can disconnect them from the rocket after a flight and then attach it to another rocket?
 

dtomko

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BTW, this group:
http://www.metrarocketclub.org/
has a nice launch site just over the border in New York. Mostly high power stuff, but they always have a good number of model rocket types launching with a bunch of pads just for low power. No launches over the winter, though.
DT
 

Vance in AK

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Gladiator, I have launched at -15 (15 below) with no technical problems. Wind was in the 10mph range, so I don't know what te wind chill would have been, but I'd guess -25?
Everything went off without a hitch, but I was using a twelve volt launch system with Es.
At these temps even nylon chutes tend to act like streamers at times. I pack the chute last & then hold the BT in front of the van heater for a minute before I put on the nose cone. Gets the chute warm for a minute.
Have to admit my fingers & cheeks got a little cold though.
Vance in AK.
 

gladiator1332

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-15!:eek:

You are deffinatley an elite member of The Rocketry Forum Polar Bear Club
 

Juerg

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I have dreamed of frozen lake launches
...
like this? ;)
http://www.argoshpr.ch/Images/FLL_2003_02_15/P2150061.JPG
http://www.argoshpr.ch/Images/FLL_2003_02_15/P21500472.JPG

This is the frozen lake of Davos, Switzerland, at -18°C.

Keeping your motors warm is the key to success, like others said! Believe me, sealing o-rings may fail also on AT motors in cold temperatures!

Also one more thing to mention: Be extremely careful when handling charges and motors. At these temperatures the air is extremely dry, what may cause problems with electrostatic discharge!

Have fun

Juerg
 

Vance in AK

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Nice pictures Juerg.
I visited Davos with my wifes family once when they were on a family ski trip. I don't ski, so I sure wish they had been launching rockets then!
Your -18C gets you just below 0 here, & that's cold enough. Once you get belo 0*f ten degrees doesn't seem to matter too much. There is something beautiful about snow launches.
Vance in AK.
 

gladiator1332

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Sadly the launch is scrapped for this weekend, I have come down with a cold or something and the temperatures are going to be in the single digits tomarrow, so sitting out in cold temperatures while sick is not in the cards.:( Next weekend should be okay though.
 

gladiator1332

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Here is a map of the field I am launching at. (I am also going to post this in the Richter Recker Flights post for questions pertaining to that rocket.

 

Fore Check

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Originally posted by Juerg
like this? ;)
http://www.argoshpr.ch/Images/FLL_2003_02_15/P2150061.JPG
http://www.argoshpr.ch/Images/FLL_2003_02_15/P21500472.JPG

This is the frozen lake of Davos, Switzerland, at -18°C.

Keeping your motors warm is the key to success, like others said! Believe me, sealing o-rings may fail also on AT motors in cold temperatures!

Also one more thing to mention: Be extremely careful when handling charges and motors. At these temperatures the air is extremely dry, what may cause problems with electrostatic discharge!

Have fun

Juerg
I love the burst of snow caused by the ignition and liftoff in that second pic! GREAT shot!
 
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