Saturday, 27 November 2010

Day 320: RR-1

I made this for an event my rocketry club were having to commemorate the launch of RR-1 (Research Rocket 1) 75 years ago.  John Stewart, the founder of the Paisley Rocketeers, was a pioneer in rocketry and RR-1 was his first rocket.  Mine is, unfortunately, not a completely faithful copy as the original had 7 penny fireworks motors in it.  Clusters are notoriously difficult to fly as lighting all motors simultaneously is near impossible, as John found out.
The other reason mine isn't entirely faithful is that I didn't have time to build a pyro rocket.  I opted instead for a film canister rocket which I thought would be easier and quicker to build.  It's also something a little bit different.  The only time I have ever done film canister rockets it has just been with a bit of paper wrapped round it and a wee flat paper nose cone and some floppy fins for show (like this) - hardly a proper rocket.  This time there was the challenge of making it look like a proper rocket and make it sturdy enough that it wouldn't just fall to bits when I was trying to get the lid on and off the canister to refuel.  You will have seen the progress through the week from my scale drawings, to the superglue fiasco and the squid.  It is certainly not how I imagined it, not least because I had to cut away part of the fins so the lid could go on and off the film canister!  But it worked.  My dad and I didn't get to the launch event because driving several hours away in  snow didn't seem like a good idea, but we had our own mini launch in the front garden with our new favourite propellant - Alka Seltzer and
water!  The launch was pretty good actually and I was impressed with the height the rocket achieved.  I figured there was every chance it wouldn't get off the ground because there wasn't enough power in it and the film canister wasn't sitting on the ground.  The launch photos aren't good though - you can barely see a tiny wee smudge.  My dad had taken the initial photos of mine and then we swapped so I could have a go and then it all went wrong.  We got 2 flights out of it and then, in the process of trying to get the lid back on my dad shoved the film canister inside the rocket, pushing the straws up and the nose cone off.  A rocket with a body the same size as the film canister may have been fine but the awkward shape of my RR-1 replica wasn't really strong enough.
I never did explain that the straws were there to fill the gap between the canister and the points on the hexagonal tube so I could glue it all together.  They also went up into the nose cone to hold it in place too since I was a prat and forgot to put tabs on it to glue inside the tube ;-)  Overall I was pleased with my rocket.  It flew, it pretty much looked the part despite the fins and the gluey bits that spoiled the paintwork and I had fun making it.  Sometimes making things is a chore, but other times it is something that gives you an enormous sense of achievement, even if it is just gluing some bits of card together.  And I am the sort of person who likes building things and then discovering glue, sanding sealer and spray paint all over her hands, remembering why it's there and smiling.

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