We just so happen to all be interns in Houston, Texas.
Yesterday, five of us made our way to Paige, Texas to launch a beautiful rocket that interns had been working on since the Summer tour. The orange tube with a glider on top of it was our Monday evening for almost the entire time we have been here so far.
From avionics work, to soldering, and even coding on the three hour drive there: the ever-dwindling group of interns I worked with on this was in love with this rocket.
On the day of the launch, it was pretty cold but we were excited. We wanted to test our fins, because we thought those were our weakest point on this rocket.
Approximately two seconds into launch, the glider slipped off the top of the rocket, and the shock cord zippered the airframe.
The glider’s tail ripped off, and we recovered it in two large pieces on the ground near the launch pad.
The rocket kept going up, and we lost it in the sky for several breathtaking seconds.
Someone spotted the rocket, but no parachute had deployed. People screamed “heads up!”, while others scrambled to find the rocket. It landed about three feet away from four cars, and came down with a whistle and a loud thud. When we turned around, we saw the state of our beautiful orange rocket…
Crushed and broken into two pieces, the parachute never deployed. However, by some miracle, our fins stayed in tact. The indentation in the ground was rather large, and we had to pull about six inches of dirt out of the rocket once we dug it out of the ground.
We weren’t going to let one unsuccessful launch deter us from another launch- we still had avionics sensors to test!
Using one of our interns’ level 2 certification rocket, we strapped in some avionics equipment and hoped for a successful launch. On our launch card, we named the rocket “Shame”.
Perhaps “Lawn Dart” would have been a better name.
The ejection charge never happened, and the rocket came right back down in a beautiful parabola.
While the rocket most definitely did not survive (it was dug at least 8 inches into the ground), every electronic component that cost more than a dollar did.
We were actually able to recover data, so for our purposes… that was a successful launch.
That poor rocket, though.
We all had such a fun time though, and went to dinner at Bastop Roadhouse after. I’ll have to say, their Sourdough Bun was phenomenal.
All in all, we all learned so much… I learned so much. I’d always been interested in rocketry since completing Civil Air Patrol’s model rocketry program, and this was definitely a HUGE step up from that.
I’m so excited I was able to be a part of the Intern Space Program.