The PowerPuff!

As I was waiting to hear if I passed my Professional Engineering exam (which is a 90 day wait), I decided to get my mind off of waiting and tried to become the first level 3 certified NAR rocketeer. Sadly, I attempted it but did not recover it. It has mysteriously disappeared.

I had a great time pulling the project together. Here are some pictures of the PowerPuff!

In the beginning. . .

. . . the PowerPuff was just parts!

This rocket was 4-inches in diameter and 7-feet tall. I had three fins on it made of G-10 fiberglass. The motor mount was 3-inches in diameter and 32-inches long.

Before I glued anything together, I simulated the construction in RockSim. It turns out that the rocket design was an extremely stable flyer!

I glued the fins directly to the motor mount and then put carbon fiber on each joint.

I was also using the Public Missiles CPR unit. It's made of resin and screws in the middle of a payload section.

The joint where the assembly screwed together really made me nervous. Particularly after calling up PML and finding out that they DO NOT recommend using this assembly in anything larger than a J motor. So I constructed an external sleeve and carbon-fibered the whole section. This was to serve as a reinforcement around the joint to keep it from flexing and breaking the assembly.

I had an Adept altimeter in it as my primary ejection controller. The backup was a Pratt Hobbies ECS-2 Event Control System, which is a two channel radio control system.

I initially fiberglassed the airframe and did a test flight on an Ellis Mountain L600 (altitude achieved: 10,495 ft). Here's a picture of the glassed unpainted PowerPuff. . .

I had sustained some minor zippering, which is when the shock cord tears through the airframe. So I used tubular Kevlar and "socked" it. The Kevlar made the rocket extremely tough. As a demonstration of just how tough this stuff was, a friend socked some brittle phenolic tubing. He then threw it into the air (about 30 feet high) and let it drop on a concrete floor. No cracks or dents! I was impressed enough to try it out!

I filled in the grooves with epoxy mixed with micro-balloons. I mixed a LOT of epoxy and did a LOT of sanding. But that booger was TOUGH!

I flew the PowerPuff on an Ellis Mountain M1000.

It was a terrific flight, but it was obvious that there were some serious motor problems. About 500 feet up, the rocket turned to the east and disappeared into a cloud. The radio beacon (a borrowed Walston transmitter) then shut off, and we never saw it again.

Here is the PowerPuff just before I put it on the launch pad. . .

That's Buttercup on the fin. I had all the girls represented on each side.

We then put the rocket on the launch pad. This was my favorite picture of the PowerPuff. . .

Here is a very nervous flyer prior to the countdown. . .


Next is another one of my favorite pictures. It's the last picture of the PowerPuff,

sniff. . .

Just look at that flame. Absolutely beautiful!

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