The Nike-Arrow

I bashed this one from the new Estes Nike-Arrow mini-motor kit -- the one that looks like a Gnome with orange fins and a booster. The conversion consisted of cutting the small forward shoulder off the transition, cutting the upper stage body tube at the rear edge of the decal wrap, and gluing in the transition shoulder to form a payload section (though I actually glued in the nose cone also, making the whole section an inert nose cone). The transition was also cut at the back edge of the rear shoulder, to open it all the way through, and the front end hogged out to accomodate the nozzle end of a mini-motor. The motor mount tube in the booster was replaced with a longer section of BT-5, and vent holes drilled in the transition to accommodate gap staging.

 The first time I flew this rocket, I discovered a couple flaws in my theories. First, I'd made the socket in the transition where the upper stage motor plugged in a little too snug. The gap staging worked fine, but with the vents, the upper stage wasn't able to build up enough pressure to free itsefl from the booster and burned while still attached. Then the sustainer motor ejected from the upper stage instead of fully deplaying the nose cone into a tumble configuration; the booster section was stable due to its large fins and the heavy transition/motor unit at the forward end, and streamlined in while the upper stage core sampled.

 The fixes for the next one will be: extend the BT-5 for the booster mount all the way through the transition to ensure a proper fit at the staging joint, move the gap staging vents to behind the transition, and slice the transition lengthwise to allow it to eject and destabilize the booster for recovery. I doubt there's anything I can do to get away from friction fitting the upper stage motor, but that should be less of a problem without the staging difficultires. 

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