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U.S. Water Rockets becomes first team to pass both the 2,000 foot and 600 meter benchmarks while setting new World Altitude Record.

U.S. Water Rockets successfully broke their long standing World Altitude Record while testing out their completely redesigned launcher system. The former launcher was proving to be unreliable at the ever increasing pressures required to break the record, and so it had to be rebuilt for future record attempts to be made in a safe manner.

On the evening of June 14, 2007, U.S. Water Rockets made preparations to test fire their X-12 Water Rocket with their new launcher design. Even after a long hiatus beginning in the fall of 2006, the sound of the U.S. Water Rockets High-Pressure Compressor roaring to life drew crowds of eager onlookers, ready to see history hopefully being made once more. Much to the chagrin of the impatient spectators, U.S. Water Rockets took their time and meticulously checked and rechecked their new high-power launch system. Using all new high pressure plumbing, and a newly devised clamp system reminiscent of their ingenious "Twist Lock" launcher, the new system was completely untested and the team was not about to take any chances, especially with so many onlookers bearing witness to any embarrassing mishaps or blunders. Those who remained patient were treated to a spectacular show, shortly before sunset.

With a deafening roar, the X-12 Rocket released from the launcher, and dashed rapidly skyward to an altitude of 2,068 feet (630.33m) on the primary flight. U.S. Water Rockets Team simply had to repeat the flight within the required 2-hour window to claim the flights for a new WRA2 record.

It became apparent there was a minor problem after the initial excitement of the successful Primary flight, which was recovered and then the video and altimeter data were safely extracted. The force of launch with the increased pressure had bent the launch tube and rendered it useless. Fortunately, the team had tools handy to cut the ruined top portion of the launch tube off and the lower portion was still in acceptable condition. The decision was made to launch a second flight to attempt to meet the 2 flight average rule required by the WRA2 governing body. Some quick calculations showed that a slightly lower pressure would still yield a record and would perhaps save the launcher from further damage.

With the clock running down and the sun setting on the horizon, the U.S. Water Rockets Team hurried to reset and reload X-12 for the second launch. The pressurization sequence was not uneventful, as some curious onlookers began to enter the outer exclusion zone in their canoe, thinking they could get a better look from a closer vantage point. The pressurization sequence was aborted by the U.S. Water Rockets Safety officer, and the air was vented harmlessly to the atmosphere. The curious onlookers were then directed to a safe distance. With the now very apologetic spectators ushered safely away, X-12 was once again pressurized and launched without further incident. The data from the second flight revealed an apogee of 2,020 feet (615.7 meters), and with both flights above 2,000 feet, the team knew their X-12 Water Rocket again successfully raised the WRA2 record altitude over 2,000 feet, and best of all, the launcher was unharmed.

After the numbers were crunched, the averaged flights were submitted and the new World Record for Water Rockets now stands at 2,044 feet (623 meters). X-12 will continue to press onward and upward, while U.S. Water Rockets continues development of the successor to this amazing machine.

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

X-12 stands in the fading sunlight hoping to launch within the required time window.

Photo gallery taken by the onboard camera.

Flight one 2,068 feet.

Flight one 2,068 feet.

Flight two 2,020 feet.

Flight two 2,020 feet.

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