Rocket launch: the Mean Machine

So last weekend, I went out to 60 Acres Field (see pic below) as I mentioned in my last post, and I launched two rockets. One was small, and the other was quite big. This post is about the bigger rocket.

60 Acres Field
60 Acres Field

The appropriately named Mean Machine is a full 79 inches in height. I myself am only about 72 inches tall (okay, 71 and a half, I’m rounding up), so this rocket towers over me, and that’s even before it gains a few more inches on the launch pad. This is by far the largest rocket I’ve built, and it uses the most powerful motors I’ve tested, so far: it requires either a D or E motor. I did a couple launches with the D first, and then the E. This is just physically a heavier rocket than the other low power models, and it makes sense that it needs a more powerful motor to carry it into the air.

Mean Machine rocket on launch pad

Nobody could be more surprised than me that these were all textbook successful launches. I was a bit concerned that despite the gigantic empty field, a six-foot rocket might come down and do some serious damage, especially if the parachute didn’t deploy or something else went wrong. But things went smoothly. No fatalities; nobody was even impaled.

Again, the absence of any wind was extremely helpful as the rocket went nearly straight up and didn’t drift too far away. The parachute deployed perfectly each time. In one of the launches, the rocket landed almost exactly where it was launched, despite being shot about a thousand feet into the air.

Mean Machine rocket with parachute deployed, on ground after successful landing
Successful landing and recovery!

Basically, this whole event was really fun, and luckily it turned out to be a successful launch and recovery on a day with ideal conditions. This will no doubt inflate my ego and give me a false sense of invincibility going forward.

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