NOW GIVE IT
If you are using a smaller engine, you may want
to do a final weigh-in before going ahead with
a launch. With everything installed, verify that the
total weight is within the capability of the rocket motor. If so, follow the rocket kit’s launch instructions.
Here’s the basic sequence:
1. Check to make sure that the nose fits securely,
but not too tightly. Then tie up the parachute, engine, and wadding.
2. Set up the launch pad per instructions. Make
sure the field you are launching in is large enough;
otherwise you’ll lose your precious payload. For a
rocket powered by a D-sized engine, the field should
be at least 500 feet in diameter.
3. Ensure that the rocket launcher is not armed
(usually this means the key is removed) and then
set up the rocket on the pad.
4. Turn on the camera and press the record button.
The red record light, just under the lens, should
5. Close the hatch and tape it closed. Although not
typically rated for space-faring use, ordinary masking tape works fine.
6. Start the countdown and launch.
7. Recover the rocket. Open the hatch and press
the Record button to stop recording. The recording
light should turn off. Then turn the camera off by
pressing the On/Off switch. If you forget to turn the
camera off, it will switch off automatically after a few
minutes of non-use. Do not turn the camera off by
removing the battery.
8. Back at your computer, hook up the USB cable,
download the video, and enjoy.
Watch a high-flying video captured by John
Maushammer’s Rocket-Launched Camcorder at
Downward View During Descent
If you installed the downward-facing mirror, you’ll
get a whole new view of the launch. One drawback,
though, is that the descent will typically have views
of the parachute and sky. You can change this by
attaching the parachute to the tip of the nosecone
instead of the base. Add a small eyehook to the
nosecone’s tip, and run the parachute cord along
the side of the nose and into the body.
The CVS camera (which is manufactured by Pure
Digital, along with the Rite Aid and Target cameras)
actually has a 640x480 sensor. But in order to
extend recording time, it is configured to record at
only one quarter of this resolution. Recording time
isn’t a problem for rocket flights that last only a few
seconds, so you can set the camera to record at the
full resolution. You can do this by uploading a modified
version of the binary file USP. BIN into the P3 directory
of the camera. See Resources, below.
Estes Engine Chart
Determining Center of Pressure
Improving image resolution