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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Extra Armadillo Aerospace News: Perfect test flight
chabot imageThe new actuator covers worked out great. We made these by hand, but we also finally got around to getting a sheet metal roll / brake / shear for the shop to make this type of thing easier in the future.
There was intermittent rain around Dallas today, but we decided to head out to our test site and hope for the best anyway. We taped over all the exposed holes in the vehicle, but it turned out that we only caught a few drops on the way over, and the test site was fine. Since we had a test out there only two and a half weeks ago, we already had some of the gear ready, and we didn’t forget anything this time. We had the vehicle loaded up and ready to go within 30 minutes of arriving.
We pressurized the tank to 300 psi, which is a little high for the threaded end closures on these tanks, and we could hear a small pressure leak as the O-ring unloaded a bit.
The engine warmed up predictably, adding further evidence for the benefit of a compressed hot catalyst pack (although we did lose some thrust after compressing it). Something that we noticed this time was that there was still some cloudiness in the exhaust while I brought it up to temperature, but after it had sat for a couple seconds before I started it back up again for the launch it was completely clear. It is likely that there is some path that was channeling enough propellant to self cool at steady state, but after letting it heat soak a bit from the surrounding catalyst, it was uniformly at operating temperature. We can probably use this effect to shorten our warm-ups by warming for a few seconds, then pausing for a couple seconds. Read More

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