What went wrong

What went wrong

For those who didn't tune in this past weekend to the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, you can get a recap here, here, or here. But as you probably heard, TrueZer0 lost their craft in an abort some 50 meters above the Earth. What went wrong?

This onboard video may give some insight. You can see that directly after lift-off, the craft swerves slightly, but restabilizes. As the craft ascends to 50 meters, it begins to spin on its Z-axis uncontrollably.

I spoke with Todd Squires after the launch, and he informed me that this is likely due to the way the hydrogen peroxide is expelled over the catalyst in their engine.

Sadly this was a large price to pay for such an important piece of data, but such is the incredible cost of experimental rocketry. For a craft that cost less than US$20,000 and was built in 10 months, I'd say they didn't do half bad.

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