Tall One

Finished and flew this ASP Tall Boy, rechristened Tall One, this weekend:

This is a real fun rocket. Straightforward to build, it’s made up of multi-segment balsa fins and four BT60 tubes. I think it looks good even with just one body segment, but at the full length it’s certainly an eye catcher. At 122.5″ it’s just a bit taller than my ground crew would be standing on my shoulders, which excited them greatly.

We used E30-4s for our two launches yesterday, captured in the video. That’s at the upper range of the recommended motors, but it gave the rocket a real jump off the pad and very clean, straight flights.

The graphics on our build are all custom cut vinyl. The rainbow is made up of six sine waves calculated to wrap around the tube. The paint is just Rustoleum spray primer, but I went through several layers of sanding, several for color, and one for clear coating to get it pretty smooth & solid. I was pleased that the balsa nosecone was mistaken for plastic by a person or two, rewarding the several layers of sealing & sanding before even getting to the paint layers.

Another interesting minor note in construction is an experiment w/ fillets. I used wood glue throughout and to form the fin and lug fillets as well, though I would normally use epoxy for the latter. Unsurprisingly the fillets developed some small air holes, which could maybe be just a bit tricky to fill w/ more wood glue, given that it shrinks. Instead these holes were easily and immediately filled using Bondic UV-cured resin.

My biggest suggestion for the kit is that a rocket this tall can really stand having the included launch lugs replaced with rail buttons. We were fortunate to have no wind today so we got two clean flights, but I’d worry about the rocket waving on the rod in more typical conditions. The included mylar parachutes are also a bit weak and could stand being replaced. On our first launch all the stickers simply tore off one of them, but fortunately the second chute was more than enough to induce a graceful float down. Otherwise, as I expect of ASP, the components are great and instructions clear. It’s a non-challenging but fun build process with just a couple interesting design choices and methods, resulting in a great flyer.

ASP Aerobee 100 JR Followup

Update on my ASP Aerobee 100 JR build that I’ve flown this model on G78s and G79s several times now. Great flights all. Notably, our last two section launches had no wind and the altitudes hit were spot on the estimates from the instructions: 3200ft on G78, 3040 on G79. At a prior launch in serious wind it did 2500ft on a G78. So I think just basic, everyday wind explains the discrepancies I’d been seeing from ASP’s projections.

This launch video is neat in that you can see the pressure build up and release.

ASP Aerobee 100 JR

An ASP 29mm Aerobee 100 JR that I finished recently. Airframe is very very slightly tweaked from the kit, only visible change being that the conduits are cut differently. Graphics are all custom. “SPACECRAFT” is a made-up space company I’ve used on a couple models, a weak joke on the ultra generic names of many actual space companies. The other graphics are toward the premise that this rocket’s mission has been sponsored by a number of much more famous companies.

Hit a quarter mile on an F motor in its first three launches on Saturday and came back to land within 100ft of the launch pad each time. That’s much lower than ASP’s published apogee estimates, but it’s carrying extra weight and the finishing certainly isn’t perfectly smooth. The paint and vinyl graphics aren’t too bad weight-wise, it came in about 9oz with the published target being 9.6oz. But in these flights it was also carrying an altimeter, chute release, and buzzer. Jolly Logic chute release just barely fits smoothly in the 1.9″ tube with an 18″ parachute if you fold the latter long and just thick enough to put tension on the band, and worked fantastically.

Waiting for the corn to get harvested at PARA520’s usual launch site to try it with a G.

Update: Figured out that much of the discrepancy between achieved and projected altitude is simply wind. With no wind it’ll get above 3k on a G, right on the estimates.