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X-12 Water Rocket Snatches World Record during Shakedown Flights with 1,715 foot (523 meter) average altitude.

With an average altitude of 1,715 feet (523 meters), U.S. Water Rockets X-12 rocket sets a new WRA2 record altitude

Late last month, U.S. Water Rockets finished construction on a new and improved Water Rocket Design. After performing a series of pressurization tests while secured to the ground, the time arrived when the rocket would be put through a series of in-flight stability and nozzle calibration flights. X-12 was soon screwed into the launch bracket on the launching pad and the test series was initiated.

The weather was very favorable for launching, and there was plenty of sunlight left in the day for the onboard video camera to record the flight, so the launch crew ran through the pre-flight checklist as a rehearsal for future World Record launches

After the lengthy pressurization phase of the countdown, the landing target area was cleared of spectators and the onboard computer was instructed to take control of the rocket. The controller immediately started the video camera and initiated in-flight telemetry. The controller was then decoupled from the launchpad operator cable and the onboard telemetry signaled that all systems were nominal. After a brief 5-second verbal countdown by the launch crew, the launch pad clamp was released and X-12 streaked into the air, leaving only a fine mist of water droplets in its wake. The upward velocity was so great that the rocket soon became invisible to the naked eye on the ground. Roughly 10 seconds later, the small orange parachute was seen unfurling in the sunshine. The recovery crew quickly retrieved X-12 and connected the computer cables for data download.

Once the data was retrieved, it became obvious that the improvements made to X-12 over the previous X-rockets had paid off in a big way. The flight reached a maximum altitude of 1,720 feet ( 524 meters). This was higher than the current world record.

Turning this fortunate outcome into a new world record became a race against time, as the ground crew knew that they had to get a second launch (to be averaged with the first) off the ground within two hours of the first flight, in order to claim the record. Crew members scurried about furiously resetting the launch systems and preparing X-12 for a second flight. It was not long before the rocket was secured back in the clamp and pressurizing for the second flight.

The second flight, launched under identical conditions as the first, so as not to risk spoiling the record by pushing the envelope too far, also went flawlessly. The second flight achieved an impressive altitude of 1,709 feet (521 meters)

The whole team was quite pleased with their accomplishment that day, and has promised to begin expanding the flight envelope of X-12 in the future.

If you are interested in the criteria used to set this record, please visit:
Water Rocket Single Stage World Altitude Record Rules

U.S. Water Rockets' X-12 Prepares to set a new world record!

[Gallery] Apogee photos from X-12.

Flight one 1,720 feet.

Flight two 1,709 feet.

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