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Sarah rocket was designed to evaluate rocket response dynamics at supersonic speeds. It was capable of reaching Mach 1.8 and weighed 16kg which included 8kg of propellant.


The rocket motor was an off-the-shelf Aerotech N2000W with 14000Ns of impulse and uses a typical ammonium perchlorate composite propellant. Sarah was designed as a minimum diameter of 100mm around the Aerotech motor and was approximately 2.2m in length. The body and fins were carbon fibre composite construction and the recovery system was a single stage parachute deployed with a raven altimeter. The rocket was to land in the sea for a recovery by boat.


The aim was to gain the capability of a supersonic launch platform for future University rocketry research. Another aim was to measure the response of the rocket to the effects of passing through the sound barrier.


The Rocket was launched from Kaitorete Spit in May 2012 at approximately 10.30am. The rocket was launched in undesirable conditions where a southerly breeze forced the team to launch it further out to sea than desired. This increased launch guide angle resulted in an excessively high horizontal speed at apogee, which was beyond the rated speed of the parachute and a line broke. The parachute with the gps tracker was recovered but the rocket was lost to the sea.


The Cambel Live footage of the Launch can be found here:

Shock wave forming

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