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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Space Transport Corporation: Three-stage rocket development
Space Transport Corporation reported today; At the crack of dawn on Monday the 29th of March, STC launched another three-stage rocket from the usual remote launch site.
The rocket was of the standard three-stage configuration and inter-stage coast periods were set such that, if the vehicle stayed on course, it was capable of reaching 62 miles high. The sky was around 75% clear of clouds. Wind was calm at surface. Launcher was aimed at 4 degrees from vertical on an azimuth of 290 degrees.
Unexpectedly high winds were present beginning a few thousand feet above ground. As the rocket roared skyward, these winds apparently altered the course of the rocket, resulting in an abort.
The flight electronics performed properly. A glitch in the ground electronics did result in a limited quantity of information, making payload location difficult.
Another flight is planned in around two weeks. Upper atmospheric wind data will be evaluated prior to flight. Also, inter-stage coast periods will be shortened to limit the effects of wind on the flight. This will result in a lower peak altitude – perhaps around 35 miles – a sacrifice necessary to produce results without waiting for the perfect windless day. Note that the “active” attitude control system of STC’s Rubicon X PRIZE vehicle allows more flexibility for the vehicle to handle various wind situations. Essentially, the Rubicon should be more of a “slam-dunk” than the tricky three-stage rocket. Read More (Word doc file)
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