Astrocam Returns to the Sky


BELVIDERE, IL – The Space Program in Training (SPIT) welcomed the return of their original rocket after spending the last nine months on the ground.

The last successful flight of the Astrocam was back on June 7 of last year.  On June 24, the Space Program in Training planned to launch, but discovered the engine mount had broken away from the rocket body tube.

“The glue was old,” said Daniel.  “First the launch lug fell off, then the engine mount slid up into the rocket.”  The ground crew thought they could repair Astrocam, but weren’t quite sure how.  Over the winter, Bob gathered advice from model rocketry enthusiasts on the Internet and ordered a replacement engine mount.  Last week, SPIT spent a day repairing many of their rockets.  Astrocam was a challenge, but was back to launch condition in the end.

It was partly sunny and the wind was relatively light.  Bob and Daniel trucked out to the Cul-de-sac launch site and prepped Astrocam with an Estes C-6-5.  Bob checked the parachute one last time on site and set it up on the launch pad.  Daniel counted it down and pressed the launch button.  The flight was successful, but more horizontal than they would have liked.  The parachute deployed and opened up.  Astrocam drifted down in the weeds about 100 yards south of the launch site.  Bob recovered it as he had been able to track Astrocam throughout the flight.  It was undamaged.

Surprisingly, this was the first flight of Astrocam from the cul-de-sac launch site.  SPIT attempted the first flight there on May 2, but discovered the launch lug had fallen off.  By the time it was repaired and ready to go on May 30, the grass was too high to fly there and Astrocam flew four times from Lincoln School and inaugurated the Prairie Fields launch site.

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