Traveler IV Flight Videos……(Waiting for Space Confirmation!)

While we wait for USC to confirm the altitude obtained by their Traveler IV rocket, they have posted some video of the launch to quench our thirst.
If you listen carefully you can hear a call out of 49 km which surpasses their Fathom II rocket flight to 43 km and hence their highest flying rocket to date. But did it reach 100 km? we will just have to wait a little longer!

USCRPL Traveler IV Space Shot this Weekend

[Updated: 21/04/2019]

Just a reminder, USCRPL will be launching their Traveler IV rocket from Spaceport America, hoping to reach the Karman line and be the first student team to reach space.

The team is targeting 7am PST (8 am MT) April 20th 21st for the launch.

Follow along on the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Read about the previous attempts here.

USCRPL Aiming for Space Once Again

This will be the 2nd student space shot attempt for 2019 that I know of, and USCRPL’s 4th try. Read about the team’s previous attempts here and here.

The Fathom Development Campaign

A backdated post from USCRPL about the Fathom development campaign, as of right now Fathom II still holds the student altitude rocketry record of 144,000ft.

Read the full post here.

With the eventual goal of flying an 8 inch-diameter space-shot rocket (similar to our previous space shot attempts, Traveler I and Traveler II), Fathom was designed as a 6 inch-diameter subscale test. Designed to reach a maximum speed of Mach 4.5 and experience a maximum dynamic pressure of 11,000 psf, Fathom was intended to anchor and validate our aero and flight dynamics models for an eventual space-shot. The vehicle was also designed to test and qualify many of our other technologies, including our thermal protection systems. Scaling the design down from our future space-shot led to Fathom’s target altitude being set to 180,000 ft.

(As we already know, Traveler III was not recovered from its space shot attempt but work continues on Traveler IV.)

USC RPL 18/19 Trailer


Traveler III In-depth Recap

As reported earlier Traveler III from USCRPL launched on September 29th, 2018 to become the first student-built rocket to reach space. Unfortunately, the avionics package was not switched on prior to launch so recording and recovery were not possible.

The team has written a full recap of the launch attempt.

With the igniter inserted and the pad cleared, a team waited at the ignition table, while the avionics team worked to activate the unit and resolve any last-minute issues. Due to a miscommunication between these two teams, an “Avionics hold” was misheard over the radios as an “Avionics go”. Thus, Traveler III was launched with no warning to the Avionics team, and the vehicle ascended off the pad without the payload placed into a state that would transmit data or deploy the recovery systems…

…However, the lack of a recovery system meant that this rocket was now ballistic, and the distinct sound of a sonic boom from its reentry was heard across the playa around 5 and a half minutes after launch, as the simulations predicted from a ballistic flight.

USCRPL has been trying for so long to reach space so to have this outcome must have been pretty demoralising. The rocket on the upside was eventually found,

…Some kind souls from around Black Rock messaged RPL that they had potentially found the rocket and, after a long return to the playa, a team scavenged and found the remnants of the vehicle. Traveler III, now in countless pieces, was found in one centralized location, indicating that the vehicle remained intact through descent until it hit the ground…

…no data was recovered from the passive Avionics system or the Go Pro cameras on-board.

As predicted, the rocket would have reached space,

…The location of where the rocket was found, combined with the simulations and observation of a full motor burn, indicates that the vehicle did in fact pass the Kármán line and ascended over 370,000 feet…

Traveler IV is now in full swing and will once again attempt a space shot in Spring of 2019. With the lessons learned from this launch, I am adamant USCRPL will reach space and become the first university team to do so.