On 08/02/2010 11:13 AM, I wrote:
Learning from the failures of others, what can we gain from this?
* On clusters, design the ignition to minimize the chance that two
motors can ignite, yanking the ignitors out of the third motor (perhaps
make the rocket light it's own ignitors?). I wonder if they would share
their ignitor setup so we can learn something from them.


Hm. One part of this is physical contact between the solid rocket fuel and the ignitor (being pulled out before ignition). You could help with that by physically binding the ignitor's cabling to the rocket, but then if you still needed milliseconds more contact to ignite, while the rocket is under motion, you really *do* need the ignition power source, current switch, and cabling to all live on the rocket or be on a long wire.

I wonder if you only need positive ignition response for a short time before it loses value. Perhaps if the ignition components were external to the rocket and on a 20m cord or launch rail interlock where it gets disarmed/ falls off once the rocket clears the launch tower, then you can avoid a motor firing up well into flight. Maybe a long ignition wire is best.

*Make sure the conrol is capable of nulling out the yaw caused by a
motor failure.

I have little mechanical engineering background, but aerodynamic forces and likely bending of components, freezing of separation surfaces when things are misaligned make this another interesting discussion for which it may be difficult to design a viable solution.

I had another idea: In the case of a major failure of an earlier stage, consider design of mechanisms by which subsequent stages may be separated and have a reasonable expectation they may be safely recovered. (Imagine if we still had the avionics from LV2b)

OK, I can hear the mechanical people say 'what, you want it unbreakable and boostable under 25G and shaking up to 25G but have it separable and independently recoverable?'. Well, it should make for an interesting discussion.

James

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