RMS/Hybrid Flight Test
12/1/94 In the spirit of joint organizational and manufacturer cooperation, today marked the first flight of an AeroTech RMS/Hybrid rocket motor by AeroTech President and Tripoli board member Gary Rosenfield and Apogee President and NAR trustee Ed LaCroix.
This historic flight was accomplished with an Apogee 3" vehicle mated to an AeroTech 54mm RMS/Hybrid motor, configured for a total impulse of approximately 600 N-s. The Apogee airframe consisted of a 3" Kraft paper body tube, GBS47 Waferglass fins and incorporated a Pratt Hobbies ECS-2 R/C parachute deployment system for recovery. In flight condition the vehicle stood about 60" OAL with a gross lift-off weight of approximately 5.5 lbs.
The flight was conducted at El Dorado Dry Lake, which is located about 30 miles S.E. of Las Vegas, Nevada. Weather was clear, calm and about 65 degrees F. FAA approval was secured from McCarran International Airport FAA officials for the launch.
The 54mm RMS/Hybrid motor utilized a standard AeroTech RMS-54/1280 casing and a 54mm aft closure. A 300cc nitrous oxide (N2O) cylinder was mated to the combustion chamber using a forward closure/N2O injector of proprietary design. The motor configuration results in complete use of the N2O well before the proprietary fuel grain is exhausted. The portion of the fuel grain which remains after burnout, functions as combustion chamber insulation.
Motor ignition was accomplished through the use of a "dipped" AeroTech electric match. At "zero", the motor ignited with the characteristic speed of a Blue Thunder composite. The boost was straight, fast, and with no detectable pulsation, buzzing or other combustion anomalies. The motor produced a low-smoke exhaust with a bright blue-white flame as it receded into the azure-blue sky. Very reminiscent of what many of us experienced 25 years ago when we flew our first Enerjet composites. Thrust duration of the motor was approximately 4 sec.
Ed LaCroix deployed the rocket's recovery system slightly past apogee with the ECS-2 transmitter. After a leisurely descent, the rocket was recovered intact about 1/3 mile from the launch site.
Today's flight was a milestone in the continuing development of AeroTech's previously announced RMS/Hybrid rocket motors, scheduled for consumer release in 1995.