Deimos Odyssey - Launch Evaluation

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

Post-launch analysis is still on-going however more technical details of the launch are now available and a number of new and spectacular images have become available.

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 Nox 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 seperating in to 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 35,000ft European amateur rocket altitude record 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.

Irrelevant of the records this project was a great success and an invaluable learning experience for the MARS team. Further refinements and modifications are already being made to the Deimos Odyssey series of rockets and the team hope to make more flight and static tests in the coming months as preperations for a space launch continue.

MARS would like to thank all of our sponsors for making this project possible and would also like to thank our many friends in America for their help, support and generosity without which the Deimos Odyssey rocket would not have been launched.

Components for several B-4 combustion chambers being prepared at 'Bruno's
Motel' before the Deimos Odyssey launch

The Deimos Odyssey rocket is prepared for

The MARS launch team pose with the rocket before launch

Cath Bashford sends images and data back to the UK headquarters from the
team Satelite Comms Centre, provided by Schlumberger

The Deimos Odyssey rocket roars off the launch

The spectacular view at apogee captured by one of Deimos Odyssey's on-board
video cameras