The STR-05 Team has made it back safely to Vienna after an exciting and stressful week in France.
Unfortunately, our combined efforts did not lead to STR-05 “Fury” launching at the C’Space competition. Several problems lead to an unfortunate early deployment of the rockets CO_2 capsules, which is meant to happen at apogee.
There were several hurdles needed to be overcome during the rockets development. Originally, Fury was going to be a two stage rocket, with a total length of 2.8 meters. A few problems with the rockets airframe meant that in late April, the bodies material had to be switched from carbon fibre to reinforced PVC. Unfortunately, this new material didn’t end up passing the bending tests of the C’Space competition and we didn’t get the permission to start.
Despite this major setback, the STR-05 Team in France didn’t let themselves be beat down and developed a new rocket within 24 hours, with a limited amount of material, at the competition itself. This new one stage rocket, which was pieced together by different components of Fury, was lovingly dubbed “Frankenstein” by the team members. New holes needed to be made, different components of the airframe had to be broken away, and the electronics needed to be redesigned. This hard work and refusal to give up under the immense time pressure awed the rocket inspectors of the C’Space competition, since they were kind enough to extend many deadlines for the mechanical and electronic rocket exams. After missing the final deadline for the flight simulation by near 12 hours, and running into a few hurdles with the rocket’s start detection, we finally had the permission to start the very next day. We were going to be the last team to start their rocket, which meant that this was our very last chance to see Fury, or Frankenstein, launch.
By the time we made our way to the launchpad one could find an unmistakable air of fear and hopefulness surrounding every team member. After a week of hard work and overcoming an immense learning curve together, the team could really describe themselves as a ‘team’. We left Vienna as 8 rocket enthusiasts and arrived at the final launchpad as one unit. We knew of each others strengths and weaknesses, learnt to trust each other, and definitely had an experience we will cherish for life.
Together, we managed to get the rocket into the starting ramp and cheered and then cried together when Fury/Frankenstein deployed early. As this was the very last chance for us to launch, the C’Space team had no other choice but to cancel our rockets flight.
At this point we would like to reiterate our immense gratitude to everyone at C’Space for extending their deadlines for us and supporting us every step of the way. It wasn’t just us who really wanted to see the rocket fly, and without their help, we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did.
The Space Team members based in Vienna also deserve our gratitude. Some of them, being seasoned ‘veterans’ at the C’Space competition, supported the STR-05’s endeavours every step of the way. Our fears of facing the rest of the Space Team with a failed launch were diminished by their immense support and love. They didn’t only help teach us about rocketry, but they made us realized the many life lessons we learnt in this week alone. We wouldn’t have learnt half as much as we did about rockets and working in a team if everything would have run flawless.