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10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, liftoff!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, liftoff!

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Over the weekend we went to a remote place in California's Mojave desert to launch a big rocket called HARP - High Altitude Rocketry Program. My son was leading a student team at San Jose State University for the past 9 month.

It is a two stage rocket about 15 feet (4.5 m) tall, and 4 inch (10 cm) diameter. The booster (lower stage) has a big N-motor, the sustainer has an even bigger O-motor. Both are solid state - the fuel is a rubber compound, the oxidizer is ammonium perchlorate. The rocket has a lot of electronics and several cameras. It simulated to reach 150,000 feet (46 km) - half way into space, with a top speed of Mach 3.8 - almost twice as fast as a rifle bullet.

The initial launch went well. With a rocket this size you usually need to be 2500 feet (700 m) away from the launch. We were close, very close - but safe in a bunker. The launch was very loud, leaving a smoke trail that disappeared into the sky.

We did not see the sustainer light up, e.g. no secondary smoke trail. That meant trouble. We had to hide again in the bunker. A minute and 25 seconds after launch we heard a loud explosion. 2 miles (3.3 km) out we saw plumes of smoke rising up in the desert. The sustainer came in ballistic and exploded on impact. It created an 8 feet (2.5 m) crater!

The team was in good spirit, despite the obliterated rocket. They will analyze the data and remains to find out what went wrong. Elon Musk once said, "if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

I processed a balanced and a interior HDR photo from a RAW exposure, merged them selectively, and carefully adjusted color balance and curves. I welcome and appreciate constructive feedback.

-- ƒ/6.3, 193 mm, 1/2500 sec, ISO 100, Sony A6000, SEL-55210, HDR, 1 RAW exposure, _DSC3347_hdr1bal1int3c.jpg
-- CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Peter Thoeny, Quality HDR Photography

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Photo prise le 17 novembre 2018 (© PeterThoeny / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 ravensburg, mojave, desert, friends of amateur rocketry, california, rocket, launch, rocket launch, high power rocket, harp, high altitude rocketry program, launch tower, tower, team, work, san jose state university, sjsu, day, clear, sky

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