Balls 2012

This past weekend was the much anticipated Balls launch in Black Rock Nevada. Thursday morning I made the eleven hour drive from Los Angeles and set up camp next to Tony Alcocer and Aerojet’s very own Ryan Sebastian and David Hailey. Steve Heller also came along with his P motor project that required some “last minute final touches” on the playa, but had an impressive flight.

Friday provided perfect flying weather, there was little to no wind and the air was warm. The launch got off to a slow start, but after having some help from Tony I had my 98mm minimum diameter rocket Incredulous loaded in the tower.

Once we retreated to a safe distance, a five count was made and the Mg/Teflon pellet instantly roared the 42” of propellant to life. The N2800 motor burned for 6 seconds with a flame longer than the rocket. As the rocket coasted upward I began receiving GPS data and watched with excitement as the numbers broke 50k feet! After about 10 minutes of drougless free fall, the main chute was released via a line cutter and safely recovered the rocket 3.2 miles away. There was some minor ablation to the ceramic paint but nothing more than superficial damage. The top speed was relatively low at Mach 2.36, however I was going for altitude and the final GPS number was 52,927’.

Just as I was returning to the 1,000’ pads, Ryan and David were ready to fly their 4” minimum diameter rocket on a sweet N5000 motor using pinned closures. The thing absolutely hauled with an impressive boost, hitting 40,000’ at Mach 2.5. The rocket was misplaced for a while but was recovered the next day, very well done. After that I helped Tony prep a little bit and relaxed for the rest of the day. The evening was a lot of fun with good company, thanks again guys for the food!

Saturday we had a ceiling imposed to 16k feet due to some patchy cloud cover for most of the day. Since I had to leave early I never had the chance to launch my 3” rocket on a 7600N-sec load, bummer.

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