ELS Full System Test

System testing has begun on the HAPP full scale prototype!

This flight-worthy proto is basically what will go on the main missions, although the final version will be cosmetically enhanced and will also contain a few fixes for issues discovered during testing. We're going to beat up this proto pretty good...

During the next several weeks I'll be running a series of tests with ever-increasing difficulty, culminating in low-altitude tethered flights.

First up is deployment of the Earth Landing System parachutes. You saw the ELS in action previously. This time, however, the ELS has been integrated into the main structure and we need to verify mechanical integrity - in other words, does the structure survive the recoil from the parachute mortars? In previous trials on a test bench, the recoil bent some steel mounting brackets. The HAPP doesn't contain steel; the entire structure is carbon fiber composite. Will it survive?

The production quality of this video may not be quite up to the standards of the previous one. Sorry! This one was strictly for engineering analysis. As a little bonus, this new video contains footage from the new HAPP chase plane, a.k.a. my DJI Mavic Pro drone.


Technical notes:

  • Delay between first and last chute deployment was 50 milliseconds. Pretty good, considering that opening of the three mortar caps relies on the shearing of nylon pins. See the old ELS post for details.
  • There were a few spots where the structure experienced minor cracking, all of it along epoxy-bonded joints. I will reinforce these joints with carbon fiber lapping material.
  • None of the structural components received any damage. Good to go!