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Recycled X-12 Water Rocket Boosts Overall World Record with 1,787 foot (545 meter) average altitude.

In the fall of 2005, U.S. Water Rockets completed construction on a new water rocket, with the goal of breaking their previous best World Record altitude, which had recently been featured on The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters program. After successfully setting a new record on the shakedown flights, the record setting life of the new X-12 Water Rocket was prematurely cut short due to a crash resulting from a tangled parachute line.

After determining the cause of the crash by extracting the altimeter data and onboard video directly from the memory chips exhumed from the wreckage, U.S. Water Rockets began an investigation into the feasibility of repairing the badly cracked rocket hull. After removing crushed portions of the exterior wrap, it was apparent that the impact had not harmed the Fluorescent Tube Covering pressure vessel inside. The heart of the rocket was intact and inspired the U.S. Water Rockets team to resurrect it.

A very short time later, X-12 was back in the workshop receiving a fresh application of the U.S. Water Rockets' Top Secret combination of laminating reinforcements. Once completed, the new X-12 underwent rigorous pressure testing to inspect for hidden leaks which may have resulted from the crash. Testing resulted in nominal performance and the hull was returned to active status.

Meanwhile, the Payload Team at U.S. Water Rockets was beginning to construct a new electronic controller for use with X-12. In keeping with the "recycling" theme of the new X-12, the payload team repurposed materials and components salvaged from the wreckage to create a new payload section. Much in the same way Soda Pop Bottles returned to the supermarket can take on a new useful life as a car bumper or doormat, portions of the crashed X-12 took on new duties as the reconstructed payload and electronics bay of the new rocket.

On April 29, 2006, X-12 went down in history as the first destroyed Water Rocket to ever set a World Record.

The first flight on that day was a "practice" launch at low pressure, which achieved an altitude of only 794 feet. The purpose was to test all launch systems and give the launch and recovery crews an opportunity to refresh their skills after a long winter break. The flight was not without incident, as it uncovered a flaw in the camera focusing system as well as a defect in the tracking transmitter circuit traced to unseen damage from the previous crash.

The next flight was flown completely without incident, reaching an altitude of 1753 feet and landing in the predicted zone. High winds prevailing during the launch necessitated an extreme launch angle, deviating from the optimal 90 degree vertical launch and robbing some altitude from the final maximum, but the team was pleased with the results.

The third and final flight of the day was launched within the required 2 hour time window, and was also forced to launch at an extreme angle and sacrifice some altitude to insure a safe landing and recovery. Adding more pressure and trimming the nozzle for the third flight resulted in a better performance of 1821 feet apogee.

It was decided that another launch that day would be too risky, as the wind was becoming unpredictable, so the team packed up and retired for the night comforted to know they set a new record with a recycled Water Rocket.

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

The reconstructed X-12 thrusts by expelling a large quantity of water on the way to a new world record!

[Gallery] Apogee photos from the reconstructed X-12 water rocket.

Flight one 1,753 feet.

Flight two 1,821 feet.

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