That awesome photo was taken by the talented Kennie of Tales from the Arctic, and if you knew how briefly the rocket would be in that frame, once the motor ignites, you would be even more impressed. The rest of the photos illustrating this post are hers, Leah Leah and her brother Terry shot the video.
Shortly after noon, Leah, Travis, Hilary and I, along with two of Leah's sisters, her brother, and two nephews, headed out onto frozen Arctic Bay to launch the rocket. Shortly after we got set up Kendra arrived, camera in hand to record the event for posterity.
The first launch went staggeringly well (and I'm not sure but this may well be the most northernly launch of a model rocket) which made me feel a whole lot better. I had visions of a sputter and then nothing else. Travis didn't want to press the button to launch the rocket, (no I swear, its on tape) and although Hilary volunteered I did the honours.
The rocket is startlingly loud, when it takes off. In fact it did just that, frightened the video person so footage ends right after the launch. It is hard to convey just how quickly the rocket gains altitude, and just how high it climbs, roughly to the height of that mountain pictured behind the rocket a couple of posts ago.
My other big fear, that the parachute wouldn't eject and we'd watch helplessly as the rocket sped into the ground, also didn't materialize, and the rocket spun lazily back to earth. The recovery team ran out to get it before the parachute settled to the ground. It didn't take too much convincing to get a second motor ready and launch it again.
While the second launch appeared to go well it didn't quite. I noticed that it launched at more of an angle than the first rocket. I didn't discover until later, at home, the reason why. During the launch one of the two tabs that secure the rocket to the launch rod came off. This effectively kills tomorrows planned launch, delaying it until we can get another part for it. The other thing that happened is that apparently decals do not perform well at sub zero temperatures. While watching for the parachute to deploy I noticed something orange drifting down. It turned out to be one of the decals from a fin.
All in all it was a very fun afternoon. More photos and the video below the fold.
Its always a good sign when a Raven flies over the launch pad!
Preparing the rocket for launch.
Making sure the igniter is in place.
Mission Control (after the first launch - note discarded motor).
Launch pad clear?
The rocket drifts lazily back to earth.
The Recovery Team heads out.
The Recovery Teams heads back in.
All ready for the second launch.
Like Skylab, one of the fin decals falls back to terra firma.