last updated: 21st october 2023 - Day 226 to Day 230 - Various Experiments

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Construction - Basic


Ring Fins

Flat Fins



Construction - Advanced

Robinson Coupling

Splicing Bottles #1

Splicing Bottles AS#5

Reinforcing Bottles

Side Deploy #1

Side Deploy #2

Mk3 Staging Mechanism

Multi-stage Parachutes


Construction - Launchers

Gardena Launcher

Clark Cable-tie

Medium Launcher

Cluster Launcher

Launch Abort Valve

Quick Launcher

How It Works

Drop Away Boosters

Katz Stager Mk2.

Katz Stager Mk3.


Dark Shadow Deployment


Recovery Guide


How Much Water?

Flying Higher

Flying Straight

Building a Launcher

Using Scuba Tanks


Video Taping Tips

MD-80 clone

Making Panoramas


Burst Testing





Servo Timer II




V1.3, V1.3.1, V1.3.2


Deploy Timer 1.1

Project Builds

The Shadow

Shadow II


Polaron G2

Dark Shadow

L1ght Shadow

Flight Log Updates

#230 - Tajfun 2 L2

#229 - Mac Uni AON

#228 - Tajfun 2 Elec.

#227 - Zip Line

#226 - DIY Barometer

#225 - Air Pressure Exp.

#224 - Tajfun 2

#221 - Horizon Deploy

#215 - Deployable Boom

#205 - Tall Tripod

#204 - Horizon Deploy

#203 - Thunda 2

#202 - Horizon Launcher

#201 - Flour Rockets

#197 - Dark Shadow II

#196 - Coming Soon

#195 - 3D Printed Rocket

#194 - TP Roll Drop

#193 - Coming Soon

#192 - Stager Tests

#191 - Horizon

#190 - Polaron G3

#189 - Casual Flights

#188 - Skittles Part #2

#187 - Skittles Part #1

#186 - Level 1 HPR

#185 - Liquids in Zero-G

#184 - More Axion G6

#183 - Axion G6

#182 - Casual Flights

#181 - Acoustic Apogee 2

#180 - Light Shadow

#179 - Stratologger

#178 - Acoustic Apogee 1

#177 - Reefing Chutes

#176 - 10 Years

#175 - NSWRA Events

#174 - Mullaley Launch

#173 - Oobleck Rocket

#172 - Coming Soon

#171 - Measuring Altitude

#170 - How Much Water?

#169 - Windy

#168 - Casual Flights 2

#167 - Casual Flights

#166 - Dark Shadow II

#165 - Liquid Density 2

#164 - Liquid Density 1

#163 - Channel 7 News

#162 - Axion and Polaron

#161 - Fog and Boom

#1 to #160 (Updates)



Each flight log entry usually represents a launch or test day, and describes the events that took place.
Click on an image to view a larger image, and click the browser's BACK button to return back to the page.


Day 128 - Projects Update
Updated launcher. See Shadow Build log for more details.
Inverter rocket air manifold. See Inverter build log.
New video camera.
The following photographs are from the recovered rocket that was stuck in a tree for around 392 days.
Nosecone was separated on the ground.
The nosecone separated where it was taped on.
Most of rocket is buckled and fins are missing.
The parachute has completely ripped off.
The fairing splice is broken.
The spliced sleeve has almost completely delaminated.
The nozzle o-ring is missing
A spider found a home in the nozzle.
Servo motor still works.
Puffed up LiPo batteries.
Another spider found his home here.
Servo Timer II and servo motor removed.
Fresh battery connected, both timer and servo motor work just fine.

Date: 11th & 12th January 2013
Workshop, ANSTO, NSW, Australia
 Warm and sunny.
Team Members at Event:
 GK, PK, Paul K and John K.

Here is an update of what we have been up to over the past couple of months and what we would like to do this year.

Shadow II progress

After a 6 month break we are getting the Shadow II ready to fly again. There weren't too many modifications needed since the last time it flew. We are continuing to keep the Shadow Build log going with the latest changes and will post flight reports in this section again. Jump to the bottom of the build log to see the latest updates.

We plan to launch the rocket at the next NSWRA launch this month. The launch is scheduled for 26th January so less than 3 weeks away, weather permitting of course. We plan to launch it at a higher pressure than last time, but haven't decided what pressure yet. It will most likely be in the 440psi - 450psi range. If it survives the pressurisation, launch and landing we will do a second attempt at perhaps a slightly higher pressure again. We still need to run the simulations to see what to expect and set the correct timing on the deployment mechanism.

Inverter rocket

We have also been working on a new rocket called the "Inverter". We have set up it's own build log so you can follow its progress. We also hope to bring this rocket out on the 26th for its maiden flight. The build log with the design discussions is here: Inverter Build Log.

We have a few configuration options we would like to try with this rocket further down the track, depending on how we go with the first flights. One configuration option would be to use a couple of larger bottles in the middle but with the nozzle further up the rocket so that stability would be even further improved by keeping all the water near the top.

Servo Timer IIs

We have almost finished soldering up and testing the last of this batch of STII timers. Thank you to everyone who purchased one or more of the timers. There are still some left for sale if you are interested: Servo Timer II.

Recovered Rocket!

In mid December David contacted me that our rocket which was stuck in the tree since 13th November 2011 was finally recovered at the last NSWRA launch on 9th December 2012. The rocket had been stuck up there for over a year, or around 392 days. Presumably it fell out of the tree a few days earlier but it still had been out in the elements for that long. We last photographed it 6 months ago. I only got a hold of the rocket yesterday when it was returned by David via Tim.

Now I am not one to be superstitious but it was lost on the 13th, which was also our flight day 113 and was stuck there for 13 months! :)

The rocket suffered a lot of damage in that time:
- Lost the ping pong ball out of the nose
- The nozzle o-ring is gone
- The parachute is torn off at the shroud lines
- The sleeve around the splice has delaminated about 70% of the way around.
- The LiPo batteries are dead and puffed up
- The fairing splice broke
- The fins are missing
- The bottles are buckled
- Parachute door is gone

But it wasn't a total loss. The Servo Timer II survived well and still works without a problem. It was actually one of our early test models with the blue LED and a different rotary switch. We just hooked it up to the same servo motor that was there in the tree with it and connected it to a fresh 9V battery. Both it and the servo ran first go! This was a great test of the durability of the timer. :)

The tornado tube and nozzle also look in good shape, though I don't know how much the UV exposure may have weakened them.

We've put some of the photos of the recovered rocket on the left.

ANSTO at Lucas Heights

NSWRA was invited again this year by the Education and Discovery Centre team leader Rod Dowler to do a number of demonstration flights during their Water Rocket Workshop for kids at ANSTO. David and Tim went out on Thursday to do a couple of pyro flights with one group of kids. Tim, my boys and I came out on Friday 11th January to also do a couple of demonstration flights for another group.

I had my small pyro rockets and launcher ready the night before but Tim called to say we couldn't launch pyro rockets the next day due to the total fire ban in place for NSW.  So I put together a simple launcher and some water rockets so we could at least fly those. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to bring the scuba tank on site so I quickly made a hose adaptor as a backup for the launcher so we could connect it to a bicycle pump. It turned out the AFP had no problems with the tank so it made launching the rockets much easier.

Unfortunately because this is a secure government facility we were unable to bring any cameras to the launch area. It's not often you get an opportunity to launch rockets in the secure area of Australia's Nuclear reactor! :)

The 2 hour water rocket program is really well setup and is targeted at grade 2-3 kids. Although there were some younger and older kids as well. They give a 10 minute lecture first with some pictures and videos and explain how water rockets work. The kids then spend about 30 minutes building their own rockets out of 1.25L bottles, and get help gluing on the foam nosecone with hot-melt glue. They use the Rokit fin and nozzle set to attach to the rockets. The kids get to keep their rockets, but not the fins. At the end of the workshop they are, however, given instructions on how to add their own fins at home. This greatly simplifies the whole workshop and gets them flying their rockets quickly. They are pressurised by bicycle pumps and release automatically when enough pressure builds up. The kids got to launch their rockets three times with two kids launching at a time.

In between the kids launches we flew our demonstration flights. The first flight was Axion III at 100psi. The wind was a little swirly but the flight went well and the rocket landed under parachute within the oval. On the second launch we flew the Axion II rocket at 110psi with foam. The second flight went off at a little bit of an angle and right towards the security building, but the parachute opened in time and the rocket drifted back into the oval safe and sound. The kids really enjoyed the launches.

As the kids were packing up after their third launch. Paul took his rocket that he made with the group and attached our fins and nozzle to it. We launched it at 110psi. It was a great launch and popped off its nosecone when it landed hard.

It was a fun day and the staff at the Discovery Center were great. They also do tours so we are planning to do that with the whole family in a couple of weeks time.

Fairing Tutorial

Last week we added a tutorial on how to make simple fairings for tornado-tube coupled rockets.
See the fairing tutorial for more details.

Polaron G2

The Polaron G2 - Phase 2 is also going ahead this year. We had put this one on the backburner after the August 2011 static tests due to the need to re-engineer the whole launcher and booster retaining mechanisms because of the higher pressures and loads involved. We think we have an approach now so we'll post details when we start building. There will also be a dedicated build log for this project.

We really want to get this rocket flying in this configuration. With a 10-11 second long burn on the main stage it should be quite an interesting flight. The boosters alone will have the capacity of the Acceleron V rocket at almost twice the pressure.

We are considering having individual release mechanisms for all the boosters as well as the main stage. The loads are just to great on the central nozzle if we went with the single release point like previously.

New Video Camera

At the end of last year Santa brought us a new video camera. It is a Panasonic HC-X900M that will hopefully make some nice rocket videos. With the 3MOS sensors it records at up to 1920x1080 50p, but my current video editing software can't handle that quite yet so I'm just filming and editing everything in 1080 50i for the time being. The 50p video quality is amazing from the camera and much better than our old HD camera. I'll only be putting a down-sampled 1280 x 720 version of the videos on YouTube as even that is a lot of data to have to wait through to upload on our slow internet connection.

The optical stabiliser is great for less jerky video especially when zoomed in. It has a lot of manual controls too which make it easy to use in specific situations, but I leave it on auto most of the time. The pre-record feature will be ideal for unexpected events during launches. You can press the record button after the event and still get the shot. :) We used the camera for the fairing tutorial.

Flight Details

Launch Details
Rocket   Axion III
Pressure   100psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   700mL
Flight Computer   ST II - 3 seconds
Payload   None
Altitude / Time   ? / ?
Notes   Good flight with parachute deployment near apogee. Good landing.
Rocket   Axion II
Pressure   110psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   ~1000mL + foam
Flight Computer   ST II - 3 seconds
Payload   None - jet foaming spacer
Altitude / Time   ? / ?
Notes   Good flight although it angled off vertical. Good deployment. Good landing.
Rocket   Eclipse (1.25L bottle with soft nosecone)
Pressure   110psi
Nozzle   9mm
Water   ~400mL
Flight Computer   None
Payload   None
Altitude / Time   ? / ? s
Notes   Good flight with fast take-off. Spiralled a little bit on the way up. Nosecone came off during landing.



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