Basic Information

Name

Z-15

Launch date:

24 May, 2015

Rocket description

- 63.5mm aluminum airframe

- 4 fins, birch plywood, reduced span

- birch elliptical nosecone

- 3 ft. ellipsoidal parachute

Payload

-Raven altimeter

-On-board mini camcorder (set to 1280x720 resolution)

- Smoke charge (initiated by purpose-made module at apogee)

- Out-board microcamcorder

- BRB900 GPS transmitter

Liftoff mass

2.397 kg.

Flight objectives

- Test activation module for Smoke Tracking charge.

- Track landing using BRB transmitter beacon

 

Motor details

Motor name

Impulser

Propellant

KNSB

Grain mass

294 grams

Nominal impulse

346 N-sec

Class

I

 

Additional information

Small modifications were made to improve reliability of chute inflation. Tether length increased and pyro charge increased, both by 15%. With regard to Smoke Charge triggering, the apogee tether anchor was modified with a thinner collapsible cylinder. Testing indicated a collapse load of 30 lbs (133 N.); was 70 lbs (311 N.) for Z-14. The microcamcorder was mounted externally, forward-facing, and located just forward of the payload access panel, in order to capture parachute deployment.

 

A newly made weathervane used for the first time to measure wind direction. A digital anemometer was purchased and used to measure wind speed.

 

Weather conditions

Temperature

25°C

Wind

SSW 5 km/hr

Sky

Sky thin haze with cirrus clouds; bright sun

Other

Wind direction later shifted to northerly

 

Launch Event Description

Setup of the rocket went smoothly. Raven confirmed all four pyro charges had continuity. Flashing LED verified that Smoke Charge module was set. After verifying the sky was clear, the countdown proceeded and at “zero” the rocket immediately came to life, rapidly climbing skyward. A distinct “wobble” was noticed during ascent. The rocket was seen throughout the ascent, all the way to apogee. Two smoke clouds were spotted, from each apogee pyro charge, and the associated “pop” sounds. After free-falling for about 15 seconds, the chute was seen to deploy and immediately blossomed. The rocket gently descended and touched down in a field roughly 500 feet (150 m.) distant. We entered to BRB GPS coordinates into the hand-held GPS unit, which pointed toward the downed rocket and indicated a range of 501 feet (150 m.). We proceeded to head toward the site which led directly to where the rocket was located. The rocket was recovered in perfect condition.

 

 

Flight Analysis

Event:

Time (sec)

feet

metres

Apogee

9.61

1533

467

Separation

10.7

1520

463

Main deployment

23.8

672

205

Touchdown

54.0

 

 

Range

 

728

222

Descent rates:

ft./sec.

m/sec.

 

Free-fall

72.3

22.0

 

Main parachute

20.4

6.2

 

 

Post-flight analysis and comments:

Good Raven data and BRB tracking data was obtained. The “collapsible tether anchor” worked as intended and successfully fired the smoke charge igniter. However, this had failed to ignite the smoke charge. The BRB GPS beacon functioned nominally and once again demonstrated its ability to direct us to the exact touchdown site.

Good video footage from the on-board camcorder was obtained. The out-board video also provided good footage, clearly showing parachute deployment followed by rapid inflation of the canopy.

 

Raven baro and accelerometer graph:                                                

Barometric and axial acceleration data                                                 Z-15\Raven_Z-15.jpg

Lateral acceleration curve                                                                         Z-15\raven_a_lateral.jpg

 

BRB GPS data:

Track of rocket projected onto launch site map                                   Z-15\Z-15_BRB_track.jpg

 

Photos:                                                                                                         

Zeta-15 on launch pad                                                                                Z-15\DSCF3586b.JPG                                                                                                                              

Liftoff…!                                                                                                        Z-15\S_capture1.jpg

Climbing…wobble begins                                                                           Z-15\S_capture2.jpg

                                                                                                                        Z-15\S_capture3.jpg

                                                                                                                        Z-15\S_capture4.jpg

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       

Rocket descending by parachute                                                             Z-15\S_capture5.jpg

                                                                                                                        Z-15\S_capture6.jpg

Nearing touch-down                                                                                  Z-15\S_capture7.jpg

Rocket on ground                                                                                        Z-15\DSCF3590a.JPG      

                                                                                                                        Z-15\DSCF3591b.JPG

                                                                                                                       

Videos:                                                                                                          

Launch and descent                                                                                    Z-15\Flight_Z-15_lo.mp4                                                                                                                       

 

Out-board camcorder captures:

Parachute deployment sequence                                                             Z-15\deployment_sequence.jpg

 

Misc:

Apogee tether anchor showing collapsed cylinder                              Z-15\DSCF3594.JPG