XPRS 2004 Photos

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The third annual "Extreme Performance Rocket Ships" (XPRS) launch was held on September 24-26, 2004 at the Black Rock desert in northwestern Nevada. It is run by Aero-Pac the Association of Experimental Rocketry of the Pacific.  As usual the launch was huge!  The weather was great and there were lots and lots of exciting flights. The AeroPac folks did a great job hosting such a big launch.  I had a wonderful time meeting old friends, watching rockets fly, flying a few of my own and helping to ground crew for some others. It was good to see everyone again. I'm already looking forward to next year!

This page is a small collection of photos from the launch.  Mostly photos I took, but a few others too.  More information can also be found at the XPRS web site.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of it!

Flight line panorama at XPRS 2004

Panorama of the flight line at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

This view is looking towards the flight line from the 1500 foot pad at XPRS 2004.  It was taken on Saturday, September 25, 2004.

Click here to see a large high resolution image.    (2.3MB jpeg file.)

Click here to see a smaller low resolution image (270KB jpeg file.)

Starfire at XPRS 2004

Loading Starfire on to the launch pad at XPRS 2004.  Photo by Rick Clapp.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Rick Clapp

Loading Starfire onto the launch pad at XPRS 2004.  Here I get help from other Tripoli Idaho members Rich Boltizar, Joe Bowen, Richie Boltizar, Greg Spohn and Frank Ross.  In total we had 10 people from Idaho attending XPRS this year.

 

See Starfire construction details here.

See photos of other Starfire launches here.

Vern Knowles stands next to Starfire at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Richie Boltizar

Starfire on a M2200 Skidmark motor!

I am standing next to Starfire just prior to launch.  Starfire was flown on the AMW M2200 Skidmark motor at XPRS 2004.  It also carried two J420 redline air-starts and two I218 redline air-starts. As planned, the J420's ignited just after main motor burn out. The I218's were supposed to ignite just after the J420's burned-out but never did. Cause is still being investigated. Starfire carried a mini-DV camcorder in the lower payload bay. The video from it is posted here.  This was the fourth flight of Starfire and it reached 5,768 feet. Starfire weighed 72.5 pounds on the pad.

The video for this flight is available here!

Starfire on M2200SK at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger version. Starfire on M2200SK at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger version. Starfire on M2200SK at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger version.

Starfire on M2200SK at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger version.

Liftoff photos by Vern Knowles

Liftoff on the M2200 Skidmark

What a great motor!  These photos just don't do it justice.  You really have to experience one of these motors.  And once you do, it will become an instant favorite.  They are very loud and produce lots of smoke and lots of sparks!  They are very exciting to watch.

The video for this flight is available here!

Photo by Rick Clapp

Starfire spits out tons of sparks at XPRS 2004.  Photo by Nadine Kinney.

Photo by Nadine Kinney

Photo by Nadine Kinney

Photo by Nadine Kinney

Single frame from Starfire on-board video.  View of flight line.

View of the XPRS 2004 flight line by looking down the side of Starfire as it was coasting to apogee.

The full video of this flight is available here.

Vern with Wildfire at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger version.

Photo by Richie Boltizar

Wildfire at XPRS 2004

Wildfire carries a TV transmitter payload module that transmits live TV pictures back to the ground during flight.  The TV image is also overlaid with GPS information showing altitude, speed and location.  A small external mirror can be seen mounted just below the nosecone. This mirror allows the TV camera to look down the side of the rocket during lift off.

The on-board video from this flight is available here!

See Wildfire construction details here.

View other photos of Wildfire here.

Wildfire liftoff on an AMW L1060 Green Gorilla motor at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Wildfire was launched on an Animal Motor Works L1060 Green Gorilla motor.  The flight went perfectly with a very nice boost and gentle recovery. 

Wildfire carries two RRC2 Missile works altimeters for deployment  of the parachutes at apogee.  One altimeter reported apogee at 3,591 feet and  the other reported 3,594 feet.

This was the 14th flight of Wildfire.  Hopefully there will be many more!

The on-board video from this flight is available here!

Wildfire rides on an L1060GG motor at XPRS 2004.  Photo by Nadine Kinney.

Photo by Nadine Kinney

Angled away from the flight line and up it goes!

Greg Fannin fly's "Optimator" to Mach 2.4 and 33,713 feet!

Greg Fannin with his rocket named Optimator.  XPRS 2004.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Optimator liftoff on M2500GG at XPRS 2004.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Next stop 33,713 feet!

Optimator on a Green Gorilla motor at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Greg Fannin (also from Idaho) launched his 3" diameter all carbon fiber rocket called "Optimator" on an AMW M2500 Green Gorilla motor at XPRS 2004.  It went 33,713 feet high and hit 2653 feet per sec (Mach 2.4).  This set a new Tripoli M-class altitude record.  The flight was perfect except for the paint that was removed from the leading edges of the fins and in patches from the nose cone.

In this photo Optimator is about two thirds the way up the stainless steel launch tower that Greg built for it.

Optimator uses a CO2 gas cartridge from Rouse-Tech to break it apart at apogee.  It then drops "drogue-less" to 1500 feet where the main chute is deployed.  It touched down about 1.5 miles away. 

Optimator fin can with paint missing after a Mach 2.4 flight.

After the flight the leading edges of the fins were scrubbed completely clean of paint.

Optimator nose cone with missing paint.  XPRS 2004.

Paint photos by Vern Knowles

Optimator nose cone with paint peeled off at Mach 2.4.

Large patches of paint were also missing from the nose cone after the Mach 2.4 flight.

Greg Fannin gets interviewed by Tech TV.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Greg was interviewed by Tech TV after his flight.

Rick Clapp with his Cherokee at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by John P. Roberts

Rick Clapp's Cherokee

Rick Clapp (from Washington) launched his beautiful upscale Cherokee on an M1939 motor on Friday, Sept. 24, 2004 at the XPRS launch.  It was an awesome flight that was flawless and reached 8,145 feet!

 

 

Rick Clapp's upscale Cherokee liftoff on an M1939.

Photo by Vern Knowles

A close up view of the Cherokee liftoff on an M1939.  This shows the Cherokee right at the moment of launch rail departure.

 

Click here to see a "web size" version.

Click here to download a high resolution image.

( 6.45 MB jpeg file )

Rick Clapp's upscale Cherokee liftoff on an M1939.

Photo by Vern Knowles

The Cherokee continues to climb into the sky. What a great flight!

 

Click here to see a "web size" version.

Click here to download a high resolution image.

( 7.14 MB jpeg file )

 

"Retrograde Motion" on a K1000 Skidmark motor!

Rich and Richie Boltizar (from Idaho) launched their newest, all fiberglass rocket, called Retrograde Motion on the 54mm K1000 Skidmark motor from Animal Motor Works.   Another awesome flight!!

Rich and Richie Boltizar stand next to Retrograde Motion.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Rich and Richie Boltizar intall an igniter into Retrograde Motion.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

Installing the igniter.
"Retrograde Motion" liftoff on K1000 skidmark at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image. "Retrograde Motion" liftoff on K1000 skidmark at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image. "Retrograde Motion" liftoff on K1000 skidmark at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Rich and Richie recover Retrograde Motion.  Note how nose cone stuck into the ground. Click here to see a larger image.

Photos by Vern Knowles

The conical nose cone was stuck in the ground and standing up at the landing site.  

Nozzle failure on an N2000!

Greg Spohn and his rocket at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

N2000 liftoff with a nozzle failure.  Click here so see a larger image.

Photo by Vern Knowles

It has only just left the launch rail and already things are starting to go badly!

Greg Spohn (also from Idaho) launched his rocket on an Aerotech N2000 at XPRS 2004.  Unfortunately, the nozzle failed at liftoff and the rocket tumbled out of control due to the off axis thrust.  The rocket impacted the ground and became a "land shark" moving along the ground for about 50 feet before the motor finally burned out.

Nike Dart on pad 26 at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Nike Dart ready to fly from pad 26

I also flew my Nike Dart at XPRS 2004 on a K185 to an altitude of  10,431 feet.  This effort captured first place in the Economax contest for K-class motors. (This rocket also took first place last year.)  The rocket is 4.5 feet long and weighs in at 8.4 pounds with the K185 installed.  It is 2.6 inches in diameter.

View Nike Dart construction details here.

See more photos of Nike Dart here.

Nike Dart landing site on playa at XPRS 2004.  Click here to see a larger image.

Nike Dart photos by Vern Knowles

Nike Dart as it landed on the playa.  It sure is easy to recover rockets at Black Rock. They can be seen from a long ways away and you can drive straight to them.

This was the 15th flight of my Nike Dart. They have all been very successful flights.

Want more?

Photos from XPRS 2005 can be found here.

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 All photos not otherwise credited were taken by Vern Knowles

Vern Knowles 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 All Rights Reserved