Saturday, February 6, 2010

Locomotive Breath and Balls 18

It seems I only get to Blackrock once or twice a decade, so obviously I only get to learn about Balls 18 from the interwires and youtubes. One really cool project from last year was "Locomotive Breath." Does anyone have stats on this rocket or simulation details? It looks like either a P or a Q. The acceleration in the video below is really remarkable for such a large rocket - and helped cause the failure by bringing on high mach numbers in thick air. The page and video claim that a weak fin may have cause the shred. I wonder if airframe stress could also be to blame, perhaps the joint between the payload and motor? It may be hard to decide if fin damage is a cause or symptom of a shred condition.

Despite the failure, this was a really nice rocket. It would be great to see them try again. And perhaps next time stage it to a slow N motor!



Dick said...

Nice rocket. It must have really been moving.

R2K said...

Indeed! Specs and sims are totally missing, but it looks like a Q motor and that means about 100,000 feet and Mach 3.5 would have been the story if the flight were normal.

Wayne Johnson said...

As I remember, Dave said the sim showed max speed of mach 2.3. One of the fins sheared at about mach 1. I saved the fin. The 18 gauge aluminum curled like a chocolate curl.