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Weekly Activity Report - May 2-May 8, 2011

Highlights of recent developments on the MiniSShot Project
- The MiniSShot-2 launch occurred Saturday, May 7th at 15:20 PDT at the
FAR launch complex in the Mojave Desert, California. There were a small
number of minor glitches to deal with during launch preparations but the
main delay was related to waiting in line behind other launches at the
FAR site. As well, US Air Force jets were escorting a cruse missile (in
test flight) across the FAR airspace. Skies were clear, temperature was
in the '80s F, however ground-level winds were marginal, estimated at
20-25 knots. Forecasted upper-level winds were moderate up to the
planned apogee of 45k ft (13.7 km).

Liftoff was brisk and the first-phase burn appeared nominal, with an
initial straight ascent followed by significant weathercocking. The 10
second coast delay also appeared to be nominal. The second-phase
ignition appeared to occur on time and the restart plume was observed. A
slight shimmy was observed in the smoke trail early during the burn but
it straightened out quickly. The burn continued and appeared nominal
to burnout. There was no visual contact reported from any observers
following burnout.

Recovery beacons were active during ascent with GPS telemetry to ground intermittent but ongoing. The Booster beacon was not reported after
apogee, however, the Payload Capsule beacon was continually detected.
Rick Maschek used the last GPS reported location and tracking yagi to
successfully locate the Payload Capsule, found not far from the launch
site. It was discovered that the lightweight carbon-fibre Recovery Bay
had fractured at approximately mid-span. The parachute shroud lines were
stripped. It was not known when this fracture had occurred but it was
speculated that this had occurred during the second burn, possibly
associated with the observed 'shimmy'. Despite the apparent free fall to
the desert floor, the avionics package appeared to be in good working
condition, The Booster section apparently followed a ballistic
trajectory and has not yet been recovered. Without a functioning beacon,
recovery will be hampered.

Chris King successfully downloaded the data from the flight computer,
Chute Controller and Featherweight Parrot. Detailed analysis of flight
data will be forthcoming in the near future.

- Ken Manatt, who led the tracking effort, provided the following
post-flight report:

Photos of the launch event:
Rick Maschek "painting" ignition primer on sugar grains http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05785.jpg

Paul Avery & John Newman discussing possible DoubleSShot launch tower

Bill Colburn with MiniSShot-2

JP Montello applies silicone grease to Mid-bulkhead while Paul checks
off that step

JP Montello installs screws for Mid-bulkhead

Paul and JP measure out copper thermite ingredients while JP senior looks on

MiniSShot-2 awaits forward avionics as Garvey Spacecraft people get
safety briefing on the LOX Methane static test in background. http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05833.jpg

JP readies thermite igniter for test

Video of 5 gram thermite igniter test. For MSS, 10 grams were used for
each motor chamber

Ed Holyoke and Chris King ready forward avionics for airframe attachment http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05880.jpg

Chris and Ed work to finish assembly completion

MiniSShot after Rick pulls the safety shunt...now waiting liftoff http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05886.jpg

Rick and Paul recover detached forward avionics after tracking teams
report beacon position near launch site
http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05902.jpg (
photos & video courtesy Rick Maschek)

The following are photos of the fractured section of the Recovery Bay: http://sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05950.jpg
(photos courtesy Rick Maschek)

Additional photos of launch event:
JP Montello applies silicone grease to Mid-bulkhead

Business end of the MiniSShot-2 rocket motor

Liftoff of MiniSShot-2

MiniSShot-2 clears the launch tower

(photos courtesy Bruce Murdock)

And yet more photos:
Rick & Paul carrying the Booster section from assembly building to the
launch tower

Loading the Booster section into the launch tower
Preparing to attach forward section to the Booster
Forward Avionics package
Rick prepping Aft Avionics while Paul follows procedure with checklist http://sugarshot.org/downloads/picture164.jpg
Chris & Rick prepping Forward Avionics
Closeup of Forward Avionics package:
(photos courtesy Ed Holyoke)
Video of MiniSShot-2 flight
(video courtesy Dave Griffith)

At this point in time, only very preliminary analysis of flight data has
been performed. Adrian Adamson has
so far taken a cursory look at the Parrot data and writes:
"The axial accel doesn't show any sign of trouble, but the lateral accel
is definitely ramping up before the event. It's as if there were a
sudden onset of aerodynamic instability leading to excessive
angle of attack and the airframe crumpled and burst. There was one event
during the coast between burns that shows up in both accel axes about 16
seconds into the flight."

Hans Olaf Toft also has taken a quick look, so far, at the Main
Computer/Chute Controller data. Of particular interest is the motor
chamber pressure data. Hans provided the following graph of the 2nd
phase burn:
The burn can be seen to be nominal right up to the 20.7 second mark,
when the curve suddenly truncates followed by erratic "noise". This is
likely indicative of the point when the sensor leads broke as the
Recovery Bay fractured, separating the avionics from the Booster.

** A huge thank-you goes out to all those who participated in the MSS-2
launch event, in particular, the ground/launch crew and trackers. A job
well done! **

Highlights of recent developments on the DoubleSShot project
- Paul Avery reports that the shipment sent by Richard, containing the
six aft casting tubes, star mandrel, and Forward Bulkhead, arrived
safely. As well, regarding WP#1a, Paul reports that he has received a
response from SpacePort America in New Mexico, requesting more details
on our planned launches. Paul will be responding some time this week.

- Tony Vyverman has submitted a photo of the Melting System components
which have already been machined, in particular, part of the ball valve,
the connection between Melting System and bayonet connection to the
casting tubes:

- Thomas Dittman has made progress with calibration of the load cells
for the upcoming DSS BP static test. As a check of the calibration and
load response, the Instron machine in the structural engineering lab was
utilized to load it to 4500 lbs to condition the load cell. The load was
then slowly reapplied from zero and the response observed. The output
stayed roughly linear within 3 lbs over the entire range tested to about

- Richard has so far cast two of the six casting tubes for the Forward
Chamber. In addition, the ablative liner has been rough cast onto the
convergent section of the Nozzle Body:
Setup for casting
Ablator cast in place

- Marco Torriani has reported progress on fabrication of the fins
(WP#6). Marco hs found a suitable aluminum extrusion for the "foot" of
the fins that will be shaped to fit the airframe. The advantage of
aluminum is retained mechanical strength at elevated temperature and it
will additionally act as a heat sink. As well, Marco has purchased balsa
stock for the fins sandwich core and will soon be purchasing the carbon
fibre and epoxy for the fins skins.

- Rick Maschek has picked up a 25 kg bag of Haifa multi-K pHast
potassium nitrate for pH and particle size suitability testing. http://www.sugarshot.org/downloads/dsc05976a.jpg

- Xavier Savaris reports that the De-spin project (WP#11) is running
well. The study of two possible solutions ("yoyo" and "reaction wheel")
has been completed. Weight assessment seems to be acceptable at first
glance. Parts will soon be ordered for the prototypes (rate gyro with
good range +/- 3000 deg/s for less than 10€, brushless motor, brushless
speed regulator, Lipo battery & Arduino nano card for the reaction wheel).

- Long-time SS2S supporter and Silver Donor Dustin Brown has kindly
donated an additional $25. Thanks so much for your commitment, Dustin..!

-Sugar Shot to Space is on facebook. Check us out.


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