MICA rocket launch, part 7…LAUNCH

Hello faithful followers, so as the title implies, we did in fact launch the MICA rocket at 08:41 PM AKST Saturday, February 18 (or 12:41 AM EST Sunday, Feb 19) and the rocket performance and scientific measurements were a success.  About an hour before the window opened we had a hint of good things to come, as both the team at Poker Flat and us at Fort Yukon got to see aurora during the twilight. Yes, that’s right, we got to see the beautiful sight of the sun setting on the horizon with aurora above it, just beautiful. Once we saw a well-formed arc over Fort Yukon, it was go time. Here are links to time-lapse videos of what the aurora looked like that night (aurora 1 and aurora 2). The rocket launched and from Fort Yukon I could actually see the rocket motor burning out on the southern horizon as it hurtled upwards. The two-stage rocket reached an apogee (maximum height) of 325 km (202 miles) in roughly seven minutes. Unfortunately for me, the boom that the DERPA was sitting on did not deploy (the one we tested in a video in my previous post), but we were still able to get some data from at least one of the instruments; it seems like the part responsible for releasing the boom, called the spider, did not function correctly, but that was not my responsibility. Everything I built seems to have worked perfectly.

After the launch Saturday night, we at Fort Yukon began packing up and I returned to Fairbanks Sunday evening where the entire launch team had a very nice celebratory dinner. Monday we returned to Poker Flat Research Range to finish packing up our equipment and then early Tuesday morning I left for the home and made it back Tuesday night. Now I’m excited to get some sleep in my own bed and get ready to do some seriously data analysis.

Surprisingly, we’ve been getting crazy levels of press coverage of the launch! It’s been great, we’ve seen mention of our rocket from the Fairbanks local paper, CNN, MSNBC, Foster’s Daily Democrat (the NH Seacoast local newspaper), and spaceref.com among others. Here’s the official press release from UNH (with my name specifically mentioned). Amazing videos and photos of the launch have popped up everywhere, including UAF grad student Jason Arhn’s blog.

Thanks for all who followed this blog through the launch, I hope you found this adventure as fun and interesting as I did and I hope that you’ll continue following this blog as I chronicle my experiences in grad school and new science that’s happening around the world.

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3 Responses to MICA rocket launch, part 7…LAUNCH

  1. Dave says:

    Astroian, I just stumbled across your blog. I gather your stay in Fort Yukon is now over? I teach the secondary science in Fort Yukon! I wish I had know you were here and could have had you visit my classes. On the off chance you are still here, please let me know!

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