Just the other day, the Georgia Tech Ramblin’ Rocket Club held their first independent launch on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Due to the flight ceiling imposed by the proximity of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the high density of tall academic buildings, we imposed an impulse range limit to A motors. We definitely would have liked to fly with more power, but given our geographic constraints, it was simply not possible.
The afternoon started off with setup, which turned out to be pretty easy since there wasn’t a lot of complicated hardware to set up. As the Launch Control Officer was finishing configuring the launch platform, I, the acting Range Safety Officer, gave a brief talk to our small crowd about rocket safety, including our responsibilities and theirs. Some of the audience has compelling questions on the science behind model rocketry, which members of the Rocket Club answered in great detail.
Launch operations went really well. Though we were battling a moderate wind from the east, we were able to get several good launches, losing only three rockets in roughly 20 launches. The rockets we did lose barely escaped into the branches of the trees surrounding the range, which was approximately 250 feet in diameter. Had the wind been any calmer, we likely would have recovered 100% of the launches.
In all, it was a great day to launch rockets. Personally, I was able to test fly my low-power maintenance job that I’ve been detailing in the previous posts a total of 3 times. I definitely took away the record for speed and altitude, though I had a more unique rocket in comparison to the standard-issue Quest Astra rocket that club members had built for this launch. Overall, I was very pleased with my rocket’s performance, which I did not envision to be as favorable. I am happy to report that the rocket came down in one piece and was recovered likewise.
We hope to be able to put on more launches like this, hopefully at a rate of one or more during each semester. We feel that this event was a good way to earn our reputation on campus as a high-soaring club with stellar goals.