Terrier-Improved Orion rocket was launched today six days after Terrier-Improved Malemute with Multiple User Suborbital Instrument Carrier (MUSIC) onboard. First week of March seems quite busy in Wallops Flights Facility.
At least engineers managed to overcome all the technical problems with Multiple User Suborbital Instrument Carrier (MUSIC) and perform successful launch of Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket on 1 March 2016. Launch was postponed multiple times since 3 December 2015, but this time everything was buttoned up. Payload, the Multiple User Suborbital Instrument Carrier included various scientific experiments prepared by young engineers from West Virginia University who are participating in NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (since 2014 WVU performed three flights with sounding rockets and balloons). General objectives of mission were described by MUSIC mission manager, Carsell Milliner with following words:
“The mission is allowing engineers at Wallops that have not had experience with sounding rockets to gain a familiarity with these suborbital missions. The work being done will result in a standard payload carrier with predefined mechanical, telemetry, power and attitude control capabilities.”
Part of scientific instruments installed on MUSIC is devoted to experiments which should confirm or deny physic theories referring to ionosphere and upper layers of atmosphere. Rest of payload space contains: DANY deployment device, solid state altimeter box, a self-inflating flotation system for payload water recovery and instruments for monitoring temperature and stress forces affecting on payload. Mission started today with launching of Terrier-Improved Malemute punctually at 14:50 GMT and lasted 17 minutes.
Second launch performed was today with Terrier-Improved Orion. It was launched at 12:05 GMT and lifted three projects on the altitude of 160 km. This time payload place was reserved for following instruments: Radiation Tolerant Computer System (RadPC) developed by Montana State University, Vibration Isolation Platform (VIP) by Controlled Dynamics and Sub-Orbital Aerodynamic Re-entry Experiments-9 (SOAREX-9) developed in Ames Research Center- NASA institute from California. Mission lasted for planned 19 minutes – rocket returned to Earth on recovery parachute around 120 km from Wallops Flights Facility and land in waves Atlantic Ocean.
Terrier-Improved Orion and Terrier-Improved Malemute are railed launched rockets. Terrier-Improved Orion is based on two stages (Terrier solid fueled booster as first and Orion solid fueled second stage) with spin stabilization and payload capacity which fits in range from 91 kg – 363 kg; possible lift altitude depends on payload and could be from 80 km up to 200 km. Total weight of the rocket is 1300 kg and is powered by bi-phase propellant propulsion which generates thrust at 84 kN at the beginning to 13 kN after 25 seconds, just before turning off. Terrier-Improved Malemute is also equipped in two stages but its maximal payload capacity is 180 kg. It is solid fueled in both stages but second stage has shorter burn time than Terrier-Improved Orion – 21.5 seconds (Terrier booster has same burn time at 5.2 seconds). It is able to reach altitude of 700 km with 90 kg payload and 400 km for 180 kg payload, so it offers significantly better altitude than Terrier-Improved Orion but only for smaller payload.
On picture above You can see Terrier-Improved Malemute just after lift-off.