Derby and District Astronomical Society

Aries Rocket Launch - Saturday 3rd June 2017

Article by Mike Lancaster. Pictures by Simon Behnke.

On the evening of Saturday 3rd June 2017 a group of DDAS members gathered to watch the launch of DDAS member Anthony Southwell's model rocket Aries. The launch took place at a members property in Leicestershire. This was not the first attempt by Anthony to launch his home-made rocket but certainly the most successful so far. With the help of DDAS member Simon Behnke an improved firing circuit was now being employed to ignite the three solid propellant motors at the base of the rocket. Two launches were made. The first saw all three motors fire and the rocket soared straight up into the sky. Then to everyone's amazement and with parachute deployed the rocket came down to make a perfect landing on its tail fins! No-one failed to make the comparison between this and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was due to be launched from Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral later that same evening - a rocket which also lands back on its tail. Meanwhile back in Leicestershire the second launch attempt was somewhat less sucessful with one of the motors failing to fire and the rocket veering off down the field to make a somewhat less remarkable landing! Nevertheless spirits were not dampened as those present were able to watch that evening's launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 live from Cape Canaveral on their mobiles. Some time later we even observed the Dragon capsule that had just been launched pass across the twilight sky as a cluster of three points of light moving in formation. With the International Space Station passing over later still and an excellent barbecue provided by our host Mike Dumelow it turned out to be a really magical evening. Pictures of the occasion appear below and videos of the first launch as well as the second can be found on our Facebook page.

On the pad...

Fly me to the moon...(well maybe not this time)

A successful landing!

Well done 'Elon' Southwell!

After the second launch - Oh dear!

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