Saturday, March 13, 2010

NARCON Part 1: Presentations

I attended four presentations at NARCON today. The first was "Rocket Electronics" by Will Marchant. I learned a whole bunch about dual-deployment and altimeter bays from him, and he helped me afterwards with the design of my 29mm altimeter bay. Some interesting things I learned:
  • Barometric altimeters should not be mounted in nose cones or near ring fins; the induced air currents cause problems.
  • Duracell and Eveready 9Vs can source up to 6A; cheaper batteries are lucky to source 1 amp.
  • 75% of high-power failures are caused by user failure with electronics.

Second was Ted Cochran's bit about the NAR decertified motor testing program. The program fills two purposes. First, it allows NAR members with older motors to apply to have the motors legal to use - effectively certified - for a single date for testing purposes. That means that old motors can be flown, and not just end up in collections. Secondly, it allows to NAR to gather data on how old motors perform - which ones work perfectly (up to 38 years later) and which don't (FSI (Flight Systems Inc.) motors are prone to CATO - explosively fail - when fired). Despite the age of many of the motors, the overall failure rate is just 7.9% over 300 motors - not much worse than current certified motors.

Third was Vince Huegele's talk about modelling the Ares I in 1:54 scale; his 6' scale model is very impressive. The last talk I attended today was Bob Krech's presentation on the atmosphere; it covered everthing from aerodynamics to Patriot missiles to temperatures and weather patterns.

I'll talk more about the vendor news and my purchases tomorrow when I am less tired.

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