Phobos-1 was built on the spur of the moment, to respond to a friendly challenge to our UK altitude record back in 1999. The SRA group set a new record for the highest altitude reached by a UK built amateur rocket in the UK in the spring of 1999, catching MARS off guard. The following day, several members of the MARS group met to plan a challenge to this new record in a frighteningly short time frame. The challenge we set ourselves was to break the new record of 10,010 feet within one week.
Phobos-1 was built using off the shelf HPR components and wrapped with fibreglass, in a matter of three days. The rocket was built around two AeroTech solid propellant motors that MARS had at our disposal. The rocket was a two stage vehicle only 2 inches in diameter, and standing just 7 feet tall. It carried a single HPR altimeter/accelerometer to determine its performance, and carried a radio locator in order to ensure its recovery.
Phobos-1 was launched with little fuss from the same site that the SRA had used the previous weekend, and made a screaming flight, disappearing out of sight whilst still under power. The rocket was recovered successfully and completely intact, within two hours of launch. The altimeter data was downloaded to a laptop computer and a PalmPilot. The little rocket had set a new altitude record of over 13,700 feet, reached a maximum speed of over 1000 mph, and had accelerated so fast that the accelerometer sensor had maxed out. The flight was a great success and proved the kind of performance that could be achieved for little cost and in a very short space of time.