One side note:
>> AFAIK a streamer will stabilize the vehicle, but the descent will be
>> too rapid for undamaged recovery.
> For propulsion-only tests I wouldn't be too concerned about undamaged
> recovery - even with a theoretically perfect launch and recovery, the
> thing's still gonna be completely rebuilt between flights. The idea
> is, you make it simple enough that you can do 5 test flights per year
> instead of just one - and even if 4 of them are spectacular failures,
> you're beating the odds. For full-on launches with avionics and
> payload, consider using an 'undamaged recovery' system for just the
> expensive stuff, and jettison the much heavier, replaceable
> propulsion unit (with streamer recovery to avoid pain).
> It should be fairly easy to come up with a simple logic circuit
> connected to an accelerometer that figures out when to pop the
> nosecone... design something that costs ten bucks to build, and then
> use two of them. Don't forget to use the absolute value of the
> accelerometer's output, just in case someone mounts it backwards
Having spent the last year making the *numerous* parts needed to build
our "simple" rocket, I'm pretty concerned about undamaged recovery
(although, if I don't see a launch in the next 6 months, I could be
persuaded to to launch WITHOUT a recovery system, just for kicks) :)
Summary: If we launch with the idea that damage is OK, then we need an
airframe that doesn't require a year to build!
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