On Saturday, I joined The Albuquerque Rocket Society monthly launch in Rio Rancho, NM. A friend, Mike, who lives in the area joined me for the launch. While the morning started off clear and calm, if a bit cold... the wind came up hard and we had to call it quits before lunch. But before the wind "blew us away", I managed to get one flight in. And it was an absolutely perfect test of one of my brand-new TeleMetrum v0.2 boards!

My cut-down Hawk Mountain "Raptor" kit, renamed "G-Spot" last October during my quest to exceed 50 g acceleration, was loaded with TeleMetrum serial number 51... and launched on a Cesaroni 229H255WT-14A motor.

The ascent was beautiful! I've put a few photos of the rocket leaving the launch rail up on flickr. However, despite a clear sky, we quickly lost sight of it! I managed to spot a bit of the smoke trail from the delay grain as the rocket approached apogee, but that was it! None of us at the launch saw anything after apogee!

After losing sight of the rocket, I turned my attention to my computer, where we were receiving a solid telemetry stream. It quickly became apparent that the rocket was descending normally under chute. As it got closer to the ground, I started calling out elevation, azimuth, and distance numbers, but still nobody could spot the rocket. As expected, we lost the RF link once the rocket reached the ground.

As various folks on the flight line wished me luck finding my rocket, I put the last reported GPS position into my hand-held receiver. Staring at the map display, Mike and I realized the rocket was far down range, near one of the roads into the site. We jumped into my vehicle and drove down the road to the point closest to the rocket's reported position. We then walked to where the GPS receiver said the rocket should be...

And found the rocket within about 20 feet! That was well within the window of position uncertainty my hand-held GPS was reporting at the time. Things just don't get much better than that! We picked up the rocket, and returned to the flight line only a few minutes after leaving it. After dumping the data from the board's on-board memory, I quickly generated the usual plots, along with a kml file that can be viewed in Google Earth.

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The rocket reached 1881 meters apogee, or around 6173 feet, and the maximum acceleration was 19.5 g. It touched down nearly 1.3 miles down range from the launch rail, in sage-brush desert. I honestly don't think I would have found the rocket without at least the radio beacon. It was hugely gratifying that the GPS worked and let me walk right up to the rocket! I could not have asked for a better test of the new electronics!

Later in the day, Keith flew a successful test of serial number 52 at a launch in Wilsonville, Oregon.

We're very happy with these results! Weather permitting, I hope to get more test flights in next weekend at Hudson Ranch. Stay tuned!