Astronaut: Gordon Cooper
Motor: Aerotech M1315
- Level 3 certification flight
- First flight on new fully rebuilt Redstone
- New 'friction fit' tower - stronger than ever (?)
- Capsule Freedom 7's first flight
- G-Wiz avionics for deploying the
recovery system after the free fall
Redstone Booster Video Notes:
You can see the tower come off about 50% into the flight (little
flash of red). Though not the desired result, I did design the system to be able
to survive this sort of event. (Previous version weren’t).
You can see the ejection charge puff at apogee followed by the
free fall of the capsule.
The drogue chute for the booster's main chute
got stuck in its deployment bag. The deployment bag (attached to the capsule)
broke free leaving the drogue still wrapped up. You can see the wrapped drogue knocking
against the side of the booster until it finds a nice calm spot between the
fins. This prevented the main chute from being extracted at apogee.
Eventually turbulence kicks the bag off and the
inflates then breaks free. Thankfully this stops the ballistic trajectory of the booster and it
begins a flat spin. This also aids in extracting the main chute which then fully
At landing you can see the right fin bend under
the pressure (the fin is only “softened” and was trivial to repair.) Amazingly the
booster suffers no other damage – considering the chute opened maybe 40 feet
above the playa.
Escape Tower video Notes: there is a bunch of signal noise but
still this footage rocks! The best theory to why the tower came off is that the
base support ring broke under the stress. I had made it out of ¼” aircraft
plywood but the drilled holes for the struts no doubt made it weaker. I
had meant to build this out of aluminum, but never got around to it (and the
plywood seemed adequate).