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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:15 am 
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I admire people and organizations who try to do things in a different way. ARCA are becoming a firm favourite with their range of balloon-launched multi-stage tethered rockets and other stuff...

http://www.arcaspace.ro/en/home.htm

http://www.arcaspace.ro/en/programs.htm

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Last edited by david entwistle on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:08 pm 
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ARCA have released a computer generated animation for their upcoming Helen 2 test flight. I certainly admire the vision. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:20 pm 
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The latest update is here. I wish ARCA well with this venture, but have to admit that a balloon-launched, multi-stage tethered rocket has some of the most interesting potential failure modes that I've ever come across.

Quote:
ARCA will launch Helen 2 space rocket from the Black Sea, between August 3 – 5

Launching Helen 2 rocket, ARCA wants to achieve two objectives:
    - launching the first Romanian space rocket in a suborbital flight
    - achieving the first flight in Google Lunar X Prize
Helen 2 system overview

Helen 2 is a suborbital system consisting of a helium balloon with 0 pressure, that lifts a two stage rocket vehicle and payload European Lunar Lander (ELL). The payload is a pressurized capsule that carries avionics, such as accelerometers, cameras, satellite tracking systems, GPS, sensors, telemetry equipment, etc.

Flight sequence

The 281 NSSL Constanta ship will carry the ARCA team and the equipments inside the Black Sea safety zone, in the point of the balloon inflation.

The ascension of the balloon will take about an hour at the altitude of 14 000 m. During the launch in the center area of safety, the flight may be canceled by detaching the carrier rocket and its destruction at the impact with the water at any time necessary.

At that altitude, the vehicle will command the separation and start the first stage rocket engine. It will run 30s, and accelerate the vehicle up to speed 420m / s and altitude of 21.000m.

After consumption of the fuel first stage, the second stage will be switched on and will accelerate the vehicle for another 40s, up to speed 1200 m / s and at altitude of 34.000m. Weightlessness will follow up on reentry.

From this altitude, the vehicle will climb inertial to an altitude of 80.000m. Follows the reentry into Earth's atmosphere and recovering the capsule, the stage rocket, the capsule of the balloon equipment and the balloon itself. All these elements are provided with radio and satellite-tracking equipment.

Funding

The program of the Helen 2 space rocket was done with exclusively private funds. Our partners for this Mission 4 are BRD Group Societe Generale (principal partner) and Rompetrol (assures the logistics for the ships).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:10 pm 
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david entwistle wrote:
The latest update is here. I wish ARCA well with this venture, but have to admit that a balloon-launched, multi-stage tethered rocket has some of the most interesting potential failure modes that I've ever come across.


A mission update....

Quote:
Mission 4 postponed
04 August 2010 - Constanta

Today took place the attempt to launch Mission 4. ARCA team, together with the launch equipments, were transported on the Black Sea onboard NSSL 281 Constanta ship. The launch procedures were carried out perfectly, but the helium balloon shell ruptured and the team could no longer continue with the launch. The next launch attempt will take place in october 2010, after completing construction of a new balloon.
Photo gallery here.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:11 pm 
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After fabricating a new balloon, ARCA are getting ready for another attempt to launch their Helen 2 rocket. See here for details.

Quote:
ARCA completed the construction of a new helium-filled carrier balloon. Starting with September 8, the team will start the launch preparations and training onboard NSSL 281 Constanta Navy ship. Mission 4B is scheduled for the end of October 2010 from the Black Sea.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:15 pm 
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david entwistle wrote:
After fabricating a new balloon, ARCA are getting ready for another attempt to launch their Helen 2 rocket. See here for details.

Quote:
ARCA completed the construction of a new helium-filled carrier balloon. Starting with September 8, the team will start the launch preparations and training onboard NSSL 281 Constanta Navy ship. Mission 4B is scheduled for the end of October 2010 from the Black Sea.


It does look doomed to a gallant failure.

Someone once explained to me that most of a normal rocket weight is the fuel to get it to orbit!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:51 pm 
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Nemesis wrote:
It does look doomed to a gallant failure.


Yes, I hate myself for saying it, but I'm inclined to agree. Wouldn't it be great, though, if it went like this... :D

[edited slightly later] Realizing there's no advantage to being negative about the prospects, I've changed my mind and I'm now expecting things to go to plan. I'll certainly be watching with interest... :shock:

Interestingly the fourth Google Lunar X PRIZE Summit will be held on the Isle of Man over the next week. I haven't heard much about is so far - I hope that changes soon.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:23 am 
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News flash from the ARCA web site.

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Helen 2 successfully launched
October 03, 2010 - Constanta

ARCA has successfully launched the first Romanian space rocket and completed the first flight in the Google Lunar X Prize Competition. More details about this event after the press conference, which will take place, on October 4 at 11 o`clock.


I'm both :D and :shock:.

That's amazing news. Congratulations to ARCA.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:40 am 
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Pictures from the successful Mission 4B are now on line here.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:49 am 
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david entwistle wrote:
I admire people and organizations who try to do things in a different way. ARCA are becoming a firm favourite with their range of balloon-launched multi-stage tethered rockets and other stuff...


I see ARCA have announced a new project - The E-111 - a rocket propelled plane for use as the launch platform for the HAAS II rocket. The E-111 is designed to take off from the sea. The crew cabin can be ejected to descend under a parachute. I'm not sure if this would be the normal proceedure, or if the thing is designed to land on water.

The schedule looks ambitious... :shock:

Quote:
E-111 aircraft completion is scheduled for the middle of 2012, followed by the first takeoff at the end of 2012. First supersonic flight is estimated for the first half of the year 2013.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:40 pm 
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That looks pretty cool but I actually thought that thing will try and land the Moon and not come back to where it came from :-) But I guess they are still working on that thing. Anyways, I wish that team lots of luck but I think Moon Express is going to be the winner because it is funded by Naveen Jain, the guy who owns Intelius and used to be the CEO of infamous InfoSpace. He is said to be a billionaire and as it normally happens, the guy who has the money wins. He hired some people from Nasa, best minds of the industry. I very much doubt they will face lots of competition, but you never know!


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