Flight Log - 2022-07-08 - John Simmons's (BAR-07) Mercury Capsule Abort (LES)

This rocket is a semi-scale version of the capsule from the NASA Mercury program.  It has (3) 24mm motors in the abort tower.

The capsule itself started as an Atomic City 1/12 scale plastic model.

The tower is hand built from paper tubing & basswood.

When the canted triple cluster of motors in the tower fire their ejection charges the pressure front travels down the center tube and the 30" parachute rear deploys out of the bottom of the capsule.

Build Thread Link: Mercury Escape Tower Rocket | The Rocketry Forum

Flight Date: 2022-07-08
Rocket Name: (BAR-07) Mercury Capsule Abort (LES)
Flyer's Name: John Simmons
Motors: 2xD12-3+D12-5
Expected Altitude: 439.00 Feet
Wind Speed: 5.00 mph
Launch Site: Local
Actual Altitude: 439.00 Feet

Ignition was quick due to the e-matches and all (3) motors ignited.

The rocket accelerated quickly, plenty of speed at launch rod exit (48.7 mph per sim)

Winds were less than 5 mph and from the north. The rocket did not weathercock.

The rocket was initially stable while under thrust, but was not stable during the cost phase. It tumbled end over end.

The simulation software estimated apogee @ 439 feet, but the rocket did not reach that height due to the tumbling during the coast phase (no altimeter was used).

The rocket tumbled down from apogee.

Chute deployed at about 20 feet off the ground. At ground hit the rocket was vertical. 

Photo's were taken of the rocket at it's ground hit location. Upon further review the rocket was amazingly still intact. As a matter of fact it was undamaged. The cardboard recovery bay coupler absorbed the ground hit and transferred the load up through the center of the rocket. Hell-For-Stout construction, and luck, saved this rocket. 

What was learned from this flight?

What an awesome flight. Was it without issues? No but man it was everything I imagined it would be.

Since this rocket flies stable while the motors are thrusting, if longer burn motors could be used it would gain enough altitude to recover with the parachute fully blossomed.

Might be a good candidate for some 24mm Aerotek motors if I could get them to ignite all at the same time. 

The "real" Mercury Capsule Abort Test video: (115) Mercury "Beach Abort" - Launch Escape Tower Test (1960/05/09) - Project Mercury, NASA - YouTube

12 x Estes D12-3
 Estes D12-5


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