1st UK Amateur Hybrid Flight

On September the 13th, 1998, MARS successfully launched and recovered the first UK built amateur (and possibly professional) hybrid powered rocket from a launch site in Lincolnshire.

The rocket was powered by a Nitrous oxide / acrylic based hybrid rocket engine developed and constructed wholly by MARS.

The flight was observed by 2 independent, third party witnesses, one of whom, was a member of the United Kingdom Rocketry Association (UKRA) council, providing formal verification.

The rocket's on-board electronics and recovery systems were prepared and the flight tank was filled prior to final checkout. The rocket was placed on the launch platform at around 6:20 pm. The remote valve actuator was armed and the pyrotechnic ignitor was linked to the launch control system.

At 6:24 pm the recovery electronics were armed and the oxidiser flow valve control system was powered up. At 6:25 pm a five second countdown was started and at T-0, the pyrotechnic actuator was lit. One second later the oxidiser flow valve was opened and the engine came instantly up to full thrust. The rocket shot off the launch pad and accelerated rapidly into the sky trailing a bright yellow teardrop shaped flame and producing an impressive roar.

Just after apogee (maximum altitude) the on-board accelerometer/ altimeter fired the first of two deployment charges and the parachute was deployed. The rocket was recovered a short distance down-range.

Post-flight analysis of the rocket showed no damage to any motor components and no heat damage to the combustion chamber. The fuel grain was approximately 45% burnt corresponding to estimated total impulse/burn rate calculations made before the flight.