Phoenix 2 Shoots Wintery Weather, Skyhawker Scrubbed


BELVIDERE, IL – The Space Program in Training (SPIT) decided snow would not stop them from launching a rocket this afternoon.

SPIT attempted to launch Phoenix 2 with an onboard video camera on Thursday.  However a bad igniter forced them to scrub the launch after three attempts.  The weather for Saturday was supposed to be warmer with some sun.  However, when the ground crew awoke this morning, the skies were gray, the temperature was still below freezing and – worse yet – a light snow was falling.

“We noticed the snow was just floating down, so we knew the wind wasn’t blowing,” said Bob.  “We decided to go for it.”  They prepped the Phoenix 2 with an Estes C-6-5 engine while still at home and liberally dusted the parachute with talcum powder to hopefully prevent problems with the deployment.

The cul-de-sac was covered in about half an inch of snow.  Daniel set up the weather station.  It was 22 degrees with winds blowing from the northeast.  The Space Program in Training purchased a wind meter a few weeks ago, but it malfunctioned on site.  They estimate less than five miles an hour.  Bob prepped the onboard video camera.  The cord to the launch controller was stiff in the cold temperatures.  The clips disconnected from the igniters twice before Bob finally got them to stay on.  Daniel counted it down and pressed the launch button.  Nothing happened for several seconds, but Phoenix 2 finally shot into the air.

The flight was high and straight.  The rocket was visible throughout the entire flight.  The parachute deployed successfully and Phoenix 2 drifted down gently.  It landed about five yards northeast of the launch site.  Daniel reported no damaged.  The onboard video recorded the entire flight.  The gentle descent provided excellent pictures of the winter landscape around the launch area.

The Space Program in Training has also prepped Skyhawker at home.  The rocket was set to fly on an Estes B-6-4 engine.  The ground crew left their truck running with the heat on.  The Skyhawker was placed on the front seat.  Despite the precautions, Skyhawker failed to launch after three attempts on the igniter.  All three times, Daniel had a continuity light on the launch controller, but the rocket just wouldn’t fly.  While they had brought spare igniters, both Bob and Daniel decided to scrub the Skyhawker flight instead.

“We were just too cold,” said Daniel.

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