Well, the good news is that the E-sized Estes Space Ship One actually
flies well, IF you use the recommended engines ().
I flew a 'naked' one today at Lucerne on an E9-6 (didn't have time to
paint, because I want to 'test' some paints first), and it flew pretty
well. Initial flight off the pad was arrow-straight, but about halfway
through thrust it did some barrel-rolls (while still flying straight),
and ejection was about one second longer than optimum (an E9-5 would be
perfect). Since they recommend E9-4 and E9-6 for this model, I guess
you get your choice of WHERE you want the incorrect ejection to occur.
For those who haven't seen it, the model is mostly styrofoam, which has
an interesting impact on recovery. There are 4 'pats' of clay in the
nose, so the nose (which is already quite large) is also heavy, and the
parachute essentially acts on the nose cone -- the body of the rocket
(the foam part) is actually descending slower than the
parachute/nosecone portion (it's being 'dragged' down by the nose
cone). Thus, the rocket body is almost acting like an additional
recovery element. This had the additional advantage of causing the body
to land almost horizontally, so there was absolutely no damage from
impact with the Lucerne lakebed.
At this point, I decide to be ambitious, and tried an F21-6.
In a word, DON'T.
The rocket took off fine, but it shredded after about 100 feet. The two
'booms' broke off (not at the glue points, but foam breakage), and the
rocket fell to the ground. It may/may not be repairable, but an
additional problem is that the nose cone KEPT GOING. That's right, when
the wings shredded, the nose cone (with all the extra weight in it) kept
it separated right where the back of the nose cone is glued to the 'base
plate' of the cone. Now, bear in mind, I've had previous bad experience
with the plastic Estes is using these days, so I had used the Testor's
orange tube glue quite liberally to glue it together, then after it
dried, I went around the seam with Testor's liquid cement to give an
even better glue bond. Obviously, this still wasn't enough. To top it
all off, nobody saw the nose cone keep going, and the rocket was within
10 degrees of vertical when it shredded. The nose cone top apparently
came in ballistic and landed about 1000 feet away (that's right, a one
with three zeros after it).
So, at this point, I'm debating whether to attempt the repair, or simply
use the remnants as a paint test bed....
Just three foam pieces? Or are You missing some little bits to the wind?
If it were Me, I'd attempt the repair, because even if the repair fails,
You can still use it for a paint test bed. :)
What kind of glue was used?
Believe it or not, just the three pieces (well, four if you count the
separated nose cone... ). The two booms each broke off at their
major stress points, the smaller little winglets stayed attached to
either the main body or the wing. No pieces missing.
The problem is that the initial assembly somewhat alleviates the stress
at this point by kind of laying two pieces of foam in parallel, kind of
like plywood, for a stronger joint. The break will put just glue at the
major stress point. A possible solution would be to put some small rods
or straws in place to help strengthen it.
Glue used was white silicone glue, worked quite well.
I'll assume that, not including the "winglets", that the damage has a
fairly small cross sectional area. I don't think silicone would work
for this repair, mainly because in small cross sectional situations,
it's flexibility under stress would allow excessive deformation,
resulting in delamination from the mating surfaces. With that being
said, I'm not sure what I would use. You can't use anything with MEK or
other solvents, because Your foam will do a miracle disappearing act
right before Your eyes. The finished product should be fairly stiff,
maybe some type of construction glue, like the paneling adhesives that
come in caulk tubes. Better still would be to find a "safe" epoxy,
something the won't melt the foam.
I was thinking toothpicks might work, but then, I can't see the damage.
Actually glue them into the foam to allow the stress to be spread across
the lengths of "re bar". Are the contours of the damaged area such that
You could laminate a "skin" patch overlapping the damaged areas?
So the rocket can explode?
I'm 5 for 6 with them exploding. Most common mode is at the end of the
propellant burn. BLAM!
I e-mailed them. Not a peep.
Earlier e-mails were responded to, but once I had a problem to report I
get silence. Not a good way to run a business.
Any full 40 N-s E would be bad since it will build up airspeed greater
than the lower total impulse (and lower average thrust) Estes E9.
Airspeed = flutter = destruction.