March 21, 2011
When we last left the Garvey Space Craft/Cal State Long Beach rocketeers at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry test site in Mojave, California, they had static-tested their P-18 engine, designed to launch nanosatellites to low Earth orbit, for the 150 seconds required to launch an orbital first stage. On March 5, author Stephen Joiner reports, “The engine flew for the first time. It was just a 3-second burn — a tap on the accelerator pedal — but it cranked out a lot of altitude.” (Not enough to bust its Class 2 altitude restriction, though.) “When they tested it in November, the sonic shock almost knocked us down.”
Says John Garvey: “The next launch is scheduled for April. We tentatively have at least one payload provider signed up who will help co-sponsor the flight. We are going to try to fly the P-18 on a regular basis while the vehicle and funds hold out. There are lots of opportunities for improvement.”
In a photo of the just-landed vehicle, a “Buzz Lightyear payload flown on behalf of a first-grade class in Long Beach” hangs on for dear life to steel-plate ballast.
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