USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch

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In my report yesterday, I mentioned the fact that the winds were too strong for any high altitude launches. One of the rockets scheduled to launch was the University of South Florida Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry’s huge two-stage rocket project (Codename: TAURUS). So, here are the pictures and video of the USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch.

USF SOAR Team - USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch
USF SOAR Construction Team

USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch

This project took years of work to complete. Some of the students who worked on the project had graduated and moved from the Tampa area. Many were at the Saturday launch only to see it scrubbed. The weather forecast looked good for Sunday. Subsequently, the leadership of the Tripoli Tampa Rocketry Association (TTRA) decided to get an FAA flight waiver for Easter Sunday and launch the project.

The Rocket

The rocket was constructed of 6-inch fiberglass body tube and wooden fins. All the bulkheads were made from plywood. All the electronics on board were from Missile Works.

  • RTx/GPS System (1 each)
  • RRC3 Altimeter (4 each)
  • PET2+ Event Timer (2 each)

The altimeters were redundant for each stage. The timers were redundant for the ignition of the stage separation charges and the upper stage motor. The team set the timed events to initiate when the lower stage motor burned out with zero (0) second delay.

The motors were Cesaroni N impulse and L impulse, 98mm and 75mm respectively. The upper stage motor mount was 98mm. So, an adapter was fitted to the 75mm motor case.

Rocket Assembly

The prefect placed the launch site as far west on the property as possible. There was a slight wind from the west and we wanted to give this rocket the most real estate possible to land in. The assembly began under an awning erected for the launch.. The captions on the pictures explain the assembly.

It took a little over two hours to get the rocket ready to fly. The group installed two drogue and two main parachutes. The team prepared eight black powder charges and “fished” the ejection and ignition wires through the motor mount to the upper stage motor.

Upper Stage Motor - USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch
Upper Stage Igniters and Separation Charges

First, the team installed the lower stage on the launch rail. Next, the group installed the upper stage. Finally, the team winched the rocket and launcher into launch position. The group moved to a position 1500 feet away from the launcher.

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Team Photo Closeup - USF SOAR Two-Stage Rocket Launch
Team Photo
The Launch

Using the TTRA’s new wireless launch system, scratch-built by Robert, the assembled group launched the rocket. What follows are the pictures and on-board video of the flight. I am very grateful to have witnessed the fruits of years of labor and engineering.

Altitude attained: 11,168 feet

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