Pre-flight Briefings

Day 1 at IREC is all about getting organized, starting with an all-hands-on-deck briefing about safety, judging, safety, outreach, safety, launch procedures, safety, rocket recovery operations, and more safety.

Rockettalk3LRThe rest of the morning was devoted to advanced teams design presentations. The Miners three-experiment payload includes fin-mounted thermocouplers to record the rocket’s surface temperature during flight, a particulate capture system to research air pollution at altitudes, and a small “satellite” from Australia designed to take it’s own “selfie” photo during descent.

One gets the impression that attendees can expect to return home with neck pains, as the watchword is “look up!” during flight operations. Each 20,000-ft plus rocket mission is expected to last about 4 minutes and attendees are supposed to watch the entire time. That’s four minutes with parachute descent, considerably less if the chute doesn’t deploy.

Even though each rocket stage has tracking devices on board, following the parachute to the ground makes recovery much easier. Seeing a slender, 12-foot rocket coming straight down at over 100 mph is also worth your time, as you’ll want to get out of the way quickly.

Incidents are rare, as winds tend to carry the vehicles well away from the operations base, and if a problem DOES develop warning sirens are at the ready.

Kinda makes you feel right at home during tornado season.