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    Flight day 1 - Pollux Ia

    Date: 31.10.2007 (14:00 - 16:00)

    Weather conditions: partly sunny, cold, strong easterly wind

    This was the first time we launched Pollux Ia. Our main goal was to learn how the NOAA recovery system works.

    We scheduled four launches with limited pressure of 6 bar and 400 ml of water.

    Preparation of the parachute before the first launch.

    Filling the rocket...

    Launch 1: This was a good flight with the rocket going up very straight. Unfortunately the nose cone did not fall off at apogee and the rocket crashed down without being decelerated by the parachute. The root cause was easy to find: The red tape was too soft and the nose cone got stuck rather than falling off. The nose was slightly damaged but could be repaired at once.
    Flight duration to apogee was approx. 3 s according to the post flight video analysis. The calculated hight was approx. 40 m.

    Damage after crashdown is clearly visible.

    Launch 2: The red tape had been removed but without it the nose cone fell off  many times already before launch. Little pieces of tape were added to hold the nose cone in place. Now it was possible to launch the rocket but the parachute deployed much too early. Flight duration and height are unknown.

    Launch 3: More pieces of tape were added in order to hold the nose cone in place. This had some effect and the nose cone fell off later. However, still some time before apogee. Flight duration and height are unknown.

    Alignment of the nose cone.

    Launch 4: The same setup was used as during launch #3. The parachute deployed again too early. Then the rocket fell into the parachute and for one or two seconds it looked like it won`t open again. Finally the parachute deployed fully and the rocket returned safe to the ground. Flight duration and height are unknown.

    Pollux Ia on the launcher version 1.0

    Lesson learned: NOAA recovery seems to work not very reliable.