HAL5's Project HALO - Sky Launch 2

SL2 Rocket Prep SL2 Balloon Prep SL2 Rocket Dead

On June 20, 1998, the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society (HAL5) chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) attempted its first mission for Phase 2 of Project HALO (High Altitude Lift-Off -- with Project HALO Sky Launch 2. A heroic effort to reach space on June 20, 1998!

[ Attempt 1 Web Site (historical) | Attempt 2 Web Site (historical) ]

HAL5 attempted its first launch of a larger, more powerful, hybrid rocket on Saturday, June 20, 1998, in the first of two planned joint missions with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Despite a heroic effort by the team at sea and on shore, the mission ended with a launch failure.

First the avionics canister (the white and gray striped can just below in the red nozzle in the photo above left) at the end new launch rod, and later the video downlink antenna, got snagged on the wooden rocket cradle (see above left), as the released balloon (see above center) climbed straight up into the sky. The jolts from the double snagging threw the rocket off the foot-long pin on the launch rod, sending it careening onto the deck of the at-sea barge (see above right), on loan from NASA. The barge suffered absolutely no damage from this minor impact. Fortunately, no one was injured -- the rocket oxidizer tank did not even leak -- and the avionics/payload canister survived intact and was working fine even after the impact with the deck!

The propulsion section of the rocket got banged up a bit but was later deemed to be refliable with new valving. One of three rocket fins was damaged beyond repair. A similar-sized rocket fin was later purchased from HARC, who had one leftover from its CATS-Prize attempt. The rocket avionics/payload canister is in fine shape and ready to fly. The balloon avionics canister, however, landed in the Gulf of Mexico, and was totally corroded by exposure to salt water. The HALO team still hopes to fly the SL-2 rocket at some point in the future, although perhaps with a different launch method (e.g., gondola) than the launch rod.


When and Where

Dates:


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Where

Purpose of Project HALO

The purpose of Project HALO is to make access to space more affordable for students, amateurs, experimenters, and researchers. It is combination technical and educational program. The program is divided into several phases. All phases have opportunities for student involvement at all grade levels. See the Project HALO Home Page for more details.

Goals of HALO Sky Launch 2

Project HALO Sky Launch 2 marks the first major milestone for Project HALO Phase 2, Operational Rockoons. As such, this launch attempt represents the first test for Project HALO to provide a capability for launching student payloads.

GOALS OF HALO SKY Launch 2
Primary Goals of HALO Sky Launch 2
Launch the balloon without damaging the balloon, gondola, or rocket
Maintain the temperature inside the oxidizer tank to high altitude
Successfully launch the rocket from the balloon by command uplink
Successfully track the balloon gondola throughout its flight, as feasible
Successfully track the rocket throughout its flight, as feasible
Verify computer predictions using data transmitted from rocket
Have the rocket exceed an altitude of 50 nautical miles (nmi) (USA-defined "space" recognized by NASA/USAF/industry = 92.6 km = 57.5 mi)
Benefits of Meeting Primary Goals
Gain confidence to proceed onto Project HALO Phase 2b
Have one success from which to approach potential donors and clients
Honors for Exceeding the 50 Nautical Mile Mark
First amateur group to get their own rocket into space (per U.S. convention)
First group (amateur or professional) to get a hybrid rocket into space (per U.S. convention)
Secondary Goals of HALO Sky Launch 2
Have the rocket exceed an altitude of 100 kilometers (km) (IAF-defined "space" recognized internationally = 54.0 nmi = 62.1 mi)
Recover the rocket, whether or not it fires
Recover the balloon gondola, especially if it is bringing back the rocket
Recover rocket electronics and payload intact
Benefits of Meeting Secondary Goals
Have one success from which to approach potential donors and clients
Can place the recovered rocket in a museum (how about the Air & Space?)
Can inspect recovered rocket and/or gondola for damage
Can recover valuable electronics for future reuse
Can deliver recovered student payload back to provider
Can recover "space-qualified" HAL5 membership cards
Honors of Meeting Secondary Goals
First amateur group to get their own rocket into space (per IAF convention)
First group (amateur or professional) to get a hybrid rocket into space (per IAF convention)
First amateur rocket recovered from space
First payload carried into space by an amateur rocket
First payload recovered from an amateur rocket launched into space
First organization with truly "space-qualified" membership cards
Potential Records from Getting into Space
Highest altitude achieved by an amateur rocket (by any means)
Highest altitude achieved by an amateur rocket launched from a balloon (rockoon)
Highest altitude achieved by an hybrid-motor rocket (any organization)
Highest altitude achieved by an amateur hybrid-motor rocket
Least expensive rocket-to-space program, start to first flight -- (less than $ TBD)
Least expensive rocket space mission, manufacturing and operations -- (less than $ TBD)

Technical Details

SL2 Mission

SL-2 Mission Overview

Gondola

SL-2 Balloon Gondola Description

SL2 Rocket

SL-2 Rocket Description

Reports and Press Releases


Modified from original version for the web.