|2nd March 2019
|Whalan Reserve, Australia
|Partly Cloudy, wind 5-10km, 28C
|PK, Paul K, John K and GK
Today we tested the Horizon launcher to see how it works in the field and operationally what we have to do use it.
Instead of the high pressure air input we connected the pressure regulator to the scuba tank and only fed in the 120psi. This way we could not accidentally blow up the rocket, We also added the low pressure gauge so that the camera could see it.
For the first launch we left the flow restrictor in to see how quickly the rocket would fill.
For the release head we used one of the servo controlled release heads from the cluster launcher. This way it was easy to connect to the launcher. We realized though that the servo motor start and stop positions had to be programmed into the pro micro that was issuing the command. This wasn't ideal as we would have to re-program it every time we switched the release head. So after this test we modified the code to not output a PWM signal but only a high pulse for 1 second. We would then use that to trigger a servo timer connected to the servo motor on the release head. This way each release head would have its own servo timer, and could be easily configured for start and end positions for its own servo motor.
One thing we did observe was light coming in around the sides and shining onto the gauges. This caused some glare to be seen on the camera view. This was easily solved by putting a towel over the launcher. The camera has automatic gain control so it brightened the image to compensate but without the glare. We may put in some more permanent screen, though a simple covering seemed to work just fine.
We launched an Axion rocket 3 times with the launcher. The rocket recovered well in all three flights.
We did have one accidental launch when the rocket was near full. We already had the arm launch set, so perhaps a brush over the touch pad caused it to go. We don't know exactly what had happened. We will add keyboard shortcut functionality as it is much more reliable than trying to move the mouse over the buttons with the touchpad. Even though the rocket launched accidentally it still landed just fine.
Here are some photos from the day.