Wedge Oldham made one of the most impressive flights at LDRS XX. See his official Nike Hercules Project site, which also has video.
Here was the motor load for this launch (from his web site):
4 K700 motors in the booster section, staging to a M1939 in the Sustainer.
Air starting four H73 motors.
Total Impulse: 20410 NS (99%"N"), within the California limit of 20480 NS.
Altitude: 7,570 feet, Velocity: 0.54 Mach
The ignition and lift off were absolutely breathtaking.
The bulging cloud of smoke signaled the staging event. In the next frame you can see the booster appearing from behind the smoke while an errant motor casing ejects sideways. The booster continued to climb for a short distance before the recovery sequence below:
Unfortunately, the large recovery chute for the booster took much too long to deploy and was only partially inflated at the moment of impact.
Meanwhile, the sustainer successfully air-started it's additional motors and continued almost out of sight before separating into two parts for recovery. Here you can see the main section (top) is deploying nicely however the nose is dropping rapidly as it's chute did not inflate and it also made a balistic recovery into the lake bed.
Despite the recovery problems, this was a truely magnificent flight and a real testament to what is possible by an individual.
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