Strap-on and separating booster rockets

DivX format video from the Phobos-V launch - video by Chris Eilbeck

photograph by Colin Rowe

photograph by Colin Rowe

photograph by Colin Rowe

photograph by Colin Rowe

Photo 1: Photograph by Ben Jarvis

Phobos-V mocked up in its full 4 separating strapon booster motor configuration, and with the full 2-stage recovery length of airframe tubing, before construction started.

The first launch used the 2 strapon booster configuration to test that the separation system worked, before fitting all 4 separating strap-on boosters, and also employed single stage recovery with a shorter length of recovery tube.

Following discussions on arocket about parallel staged rockets for amateur space shots and orbital shots, fellow MARS member, Ben Jarvis, and myself, decided that it would be a good idea to develop a parallel staged rocket to see if we could push the technology forward in the amateur domain. because we didn't want to detract from the main focus of development within MARS, we developed the rocket as a "Skunk Works" project within MARS.

Because of the MARS focus on a reliable, reuseable 4" diameter, Nitrous Oxide hybrid over the past several years, it made sense to develop a separation system which could be used with this hybrid, to increase the apogee altitude of future launches, and also provide a cheaper way to gain higher altitudes.

Ben and myself then spent 2 months working on construction of a launch vehicle to test parallel staging. Ben took care of airframe construction and design of the separation system, and I handled the avionics/payload and simulations and calculations.

The first launch took place at 3:00pm on Sunday, the 26th of September, 2004, at the UK Rocketry Association's annual K-Lob launch event in Lincolnshire.


A big thank you to all the following for ably assisting at the launch:

Jim Macfarlane of Airborne Engineering, Chris Eilbeck, Dave Warman, Pete Davy, Malcolm of Rockets and Things, Frank de Brouwer of Rebel Rocketry, Europe's largest rocket shop / online store, Pim Heydt of Tripoli Nederlands, Colin Rowe of Rowe's Retainers, Damian Hall of Uncle Bob's Rocket Shop, Europe's largest hybrid rocket supplier, and RSO'd by Dave Thomson.

See Also

Hybrid Rocket Science, Hybrid Rocket Help Clinic, Amateur Hybrid Motors, Amateur Liquid Rockets, Guidance, Gimballed Motors, Launch Controller, UK Rocketry Vendors, UK Rocket Groups, UK Space Organisations