Deimos Odyssey Launch Analysis 2002

The MARS launch team returned to the UK on the morning of Wednesday 25th of September 2002 after the successful launch of the Deimos Odyssey rocket.

The 25ft tall, 60kg 'Deimos Odyssey' rocket was launched at approximately 3:20pm local time on Sunday the 22nd of September 2002 from the Black Rock desert in Nevada, USA. The B4 hybrid rocket motor, developed by the MARS team, ignited correctly once again and propelled the massive rocket off it's 60ft (20m) launch tower in less than a second and a half.

Shortly after ignition and due, it is believed, to the venting of liquid Nitrous Oxide through the nozzle during the abort the previous day, the B4's graphite nozzle became damaged reducing the performance of the B4 engine for the remainder of the flight. Despite this problem the motor continued to operate well for a sixteen second effective burn delivering higher thrust than in any previous tests with a peak of over 280kg and an average thrust close to it's 250kg optimum. The motor delivered close to full 'O' class total impulse over the burn accelerating the rocket to almost 1000mph.

The rocket arced over at a final apogee altitude of 25,400ft above the surface of the Earth before separating into two parts and deploying all of the recovery parachutes as planned. Both the booster and the payload module were recovered without a scratch around twenty minutes after the launch less than three miles from the launch point. It is believed that had the nozzle element not failed the rocket would have exceeded the current European amateur rocket altitude record, which stands at 35,000ft set by MARS in 2000.

It is believed that the 25,400ft altitude achieved by Deimos Odyssey now stands as the highest altitude achieved by any rocket powered by a British developed amateur rocket motor and may be the highest altitude ever achieved by any European built hybrid rocket.

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