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Each flight log entry usually represents a launch or test day, and describes the events that took place.
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Day 155 - Looking Down the Barrel
Date: 14th December 2014
Whalan Reserve, NSW, Australia
 Clear skies, light to moderate winds 5km/h-15km/h, ~29C
Team Members at Event:
PK, GK, John K and Paul K

Looking Down The Barrel

For the last launch of the year we wanted to see if we could get another camera angle on the launches. So we built a boom that extends about 600mm above the guide rail with the GoPro mounted on the end of it. The boom is attached to a pivot on the back of the guide rail, and a deflection wire is attached to the boom and sits in the guide rail groove. The idea is for the camera to be positioned directly ahead of the rocket, and as the rocket flies up the guide rail, the deflection wire pushes the boom and camera out of the way just enough for the rocket to clear the camera.

Flight #1 - On the first flight we used the shorter Axion III rocket so that it would travel a longer distance before reaching the deflection wire. We also set the GoPro to shoot in high speed mode. Pressurised to the standard 120psi, the rocket launched well but we could hear that it clipped something on the way up. When we saw that the GoPro was now pointing up and the deflection wire was bent, it was evident that the rocket had impacted with the camera. Despite this we still ended up with a good video sequence. Reviewing the video from the GoPro you could see what happened. Due to the rounded nosecone the wire deflected sideways first rather than away from the rocket and as a result the camera didn't get out of the way quick enough.




We set it up again, but this time we used the longer Axion II rocket. The reasoning was that the rocket would start pushing the camera out of the way sooner while it was still moving quite slowly. This worked quite well, and the rocket didn't hit the camera this time and gave us an "Saturn V/Apollo" like view as the rocket flew past the tower.




The next flight was similar to the first, but we put the camera back to film the rocket from an angle. For some reason the video from this flight was corrupt so we don't know what it looked like. We also had a camera on the rocket pointing up so that it could see the camera boom move out of the way. However, this video didn't show too much as the rocket obstructed most of the view..



The fourth flight was again similar, and again we got reasonable video although with the wire deflecting sideways it caused the camera bracket to twist a little giving shaky video.

The last flight managed to clip the camera again on the way up but this time because the camera bounced and on the way back it bumped the back of the rocket which deflected it sideways a little. The rocket flew well otherwise and deployed its parachute on cue. The wind, however, blew the rocket into some trees, but not far off the ground, and by the time we came up to it, it fell out by itself.


Overall we were quite happy with the camera angle and the shots it achieved, but we'll have to modify the deflection wire to be a little more sturdier so that it doesn't flex when the nosecone hits it.

Here is a highlights video from the day:

Flight Details

Launch Details
Rocket   Axion III
Pressure   120psi
Nozzle   9 mm
Water   900mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 4 seconds
Payload   HD cam #11
Altitude / Time   ? / 17.9 seconds
Notes   Good flight and good landing. Rocket hit camera on the way up.
Rocket   Axion II
Pressure   120psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1500mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 5 seconds
Payload   HD cam #11
Altitude / Time   ? feet / 26.9 seconds
Notes   Good flight and good landing.
Rocket   Axion II
Pressure   120psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1500mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 5 seconds
Payload   HD cam #11
Altitude / Time   ? feet / 31.1 seconds
Notes   Good flight and good landing.
Rocket   Axion II
Pressure   120psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1500mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 5 seconds
Payload   HD cam #11
Altitude / Time   ? feet / 26.6 seconds
Notes   Good flight and good landing.
Rocket   Axion III
Pressure   120 psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   1500mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 5 seconds
Payload   None
Altitude / Time   ? feet / 27.5 seconds
Notes   Good flight, looked like the camera clipped the tail of the rocket as it bounced back. Rocket veered off a little and landed in a tree, but then managed to fall out by itself a couple of minutes later.


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