MicroSat Launcher, Block II vehicle
Test Flight, July 29, 2000

This mission, the second flight of the MicroSat Launcher series, was a great success.   The ML class rocket has flow twice since this mission, once for the opening of the West Texas Spaceport and once for the Air Force.

Images can be clicked on to see a larger image.                                                photos by Jennifer Kirkpatrick

ML-3 Looking Good

ML-3 is the first Block II series of the MicroSat Launch.  The Block II series features an all carbon fiber airframe, Kevlar nose cone and the ability to handle six inch diameter rocket motors. 

[three quarter view]

Gimbaled Launch Rail

The launch rail that holds the rocket can swing in all direction.   This gimbal system will be using when the ML is launched from a high altitude platform.  The gimbal keeps the rocket pointed up regardless of the platforms attitude.

[Launch prep.]

Last Systems Check

It took the team about ten hours to assemble the tower, ground stations and prepare the rocket for flight.

[Dave on launch tower]

Liftoff !

This test flight utilized a 10,000 newton/second rocket motor. The rocket flew to 16,200 feet.   As part of the test, the rocket carried the full CATS prize payload (2 kgs).  The next ML flight will use the full 50,000 newton/second motor.

[Liftoff]

Straight and True

This flight had three major goals.  The first was test the all carbon airframe, could it take the load?  The second was to see if the rocket would launch straight out of a free hanging gimbal system.  The third was a shakedown of the full electronics suite in the ML configuration.   All three were met superbly.

[One second into flight]

Soft landing

Ready to fly again.  The MicroSat Launcher is completely reusable. 

[Landing site]

105 Degrees and Still Smiling

It was hot and the day long but the crew was happy.  The team really put forth a great effort for this mission.

[Team with Rocket]

 

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This page was last edited on January 31, 2005
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