aSpIrM-2 launch fest: Elektra

Elektra was our first rocket. She’s a petite, slim, highly agile and reliable little thing and Huber Pom is her custodian. On our launch fest around aSpIrM-2, we fired her up four times which makes her our most-flown rocket by far. So she deserves more credit than she is usually given.

The first two occasions were shortly after our arrival. We were so mesmerized by the beauty of the Rimstead launch site, the breath-taking sunset and the awesome images we were able to create with our new strongback that we quickly got into launch mood.

Elektra is an easy launcher. She doesn’t require any preps. We launched her from our “old” pad and she shot up into the night sky leaving us in awe. She had a perfect trajectory, nearly an RTLS and we could see her come down despite the nearly dark sky.

That got us so excited that we immediately shot her up again with a stronger motor. She quickly disappeared and it seemed that she flew endlessly. We were waiting for her to come down, but there was no sight of her. We concluded she must have flown high enough to catch some wind (there were no ground winds at that time) and must have come down towards the east where it was already completely dark. We would have seen her in the west – there was still a little residual light of dawn and a faint idea of an orange sunset.

A quick search with and without flashlights didn’t reveal Elektra. So we decided she would have to spend the night under the starry sky.

Watch her go, accompanied by a lot of audible emotionality from the OxidanSky team:

First thing next morning, a recovery team went out to look for Elektra. It took them a while to find her, because contrary to our predictions she had actually landed in the west and was spotted very close to the entry into the woods. A couple of meters more and we would probably never have found her.

Later in the morning we flew our test launches – with Archie and Not Without My Handbag. And of course our main mission, aSpIrM-2 with Starmam.

Those experiences were so thrilling that we didn’t want to stop. So Elektra had to venture out again, triggering several ♬ “catch me” ♬ instances: On her first launch that day, again from LP1, she was equipped with a C6-3 motor and an altimeter. Which she shook off mid-flight, but our quicksilver Huber Pom managed to catch it as it came down. This coincided with the first time our Vehicle Recovery Expert, Mr Steven Gadget, was successful in his endeavors to catch a vehicle.

Of course we couldn’t stop there and sent Elektra up again. This time, the altimeter stayed where it was supposed to and provided data: 147 meters for our petite sweetheart! There was an incident with the parachute, though. The shock cord was torn off. The second stage with the altimeter landed with the chute, the first stage came down on its own. But since Elektra is so tiny and light-weight and landed in the soft, high grass, it didn’t do her any harm. Elektra is fine and can be reflown any time.


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