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Rocket flights












Early launch (02/09/02)


Because the launch system used a plug fit in the neck of the bottle we couldn't accurately predict when it would launch.

Our parachute system consistently failed due to very high launch acceleration loading's , pressing the nose cone over the main rocket body diameter. That subsequently remained jammed at apogee.




Development gets under way.

Into the clouds.( 3/9/02)13.27hrs

Ballistic (Sol-Sol) Possibly the first recording of a single stage water rocket disappearing into the cloud base.






Into the blue.( 4/9/02)16.58hrs

Ballistic flight (Sol-Sol). Pressure plug launch.



When the going gets tough ....

The chapel (5/01/02)

Jet tube launcher. Inclined at 5 degrees to the vertical. Ballistic flight.






The ditch (5/01/02)

Problem with the cold (12/01/03)


Good launch trajectory but ice prevented parachute deployment as moisture had gone into the nose cone during fueling.

Note: We have the dent in the roof of the red car as  proof !



Success. First successful parachute deployment.(17/01/03)


Development of parachute  module 'shock plate' that resisted the high launch acceleration loading.

The parachute module also incorporated pressure compensation and an aerodynamic pressure drop that holds the nose cone in place until it reaches its maximum height (apogee).

A  parachute was used to recover the rocket only. The nose cone falling away to be recovered 20m from the launch pad down range.

Height : 285.>320 m  Tapogee 5.4s Recovery : 250 m away 


Launch video                                                                         Descent video





Double parachute deployment (31/01/03)


Two  parachutes were used to recover both rocket and nose cone.

Size was selected to ensure that they landed within 10m of each other.

Launch capability at -7°C. Great care was taken to keep the launch tube and valves from freezing.

Rocket recovery : 420 m



npl  National Physics Laboratory, London  June 2003 (25/06/03).


 The rocket was last seen disappearing over Bushy Park at 20.05hrs.

 Film courtesy Dr J. Knapp Leeds University and Stuart Western.

 Thanks to everybody at the npl. A great day was had by all.

 Flight time Tvol = 35>40secs in line of vision with  90cm parachute.

Nose cone separation mode ( main body fall away) with nose cone continuing  a vertical accent after separation.

Early separation due to parachute packing volume and higher spring stiffness of larger 90cm parachute deployed especially for npl event.

Tapogee 5.46s


To see this film you need to have a copy of Quicktime




Alex  carrying out the final checks prior to pressurisation and launch.

No timer mechanism is used!

Twin launch tubes can be seen mounted in the 'Pas de tir'.

This is to provide back up capability and multiple/sequential launching if required



* during these launches we had not taken account of static electricity affecting parachute deployment predictability.

** video best seen at a slower speed ( we use virtualdub)                  


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This site was created on the 15th April 2003

©John Gwynn and sons2003 

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