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IRVE-3 Launch: Preliminary Results
IRVE-3 prelaunch checks

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IRVE-3 launch team reporting into the Range Control Center at 1:15 AM to begin launch count. Credit: NASA

Mon, Jul 23 was a great day.  IRVE-3 was launched at ~7a from WFF, and the vehicle performed beautifully.  Here are some PRELIMINARY results…

The launch vehicle successfully delivered us to an altitude of ~280 mi.  We had allotted 210 sec to inflate, but we actually achieved the desired pressure after 3 min, and that pressure differential was maintained though the entire experiment.  The CG offset mechanism shifted our CG, so that we would generate lift during entry.  Our ACS was able to keep that lift vector pointed up within +/- 5 deg for the entire experiment. In fact, we had fuel left to do all of our preprogrammed bonus maneuvers (moving the CG offset back and forth) prior to loss-of-signal.  We experienced peak loads of about 20g and 15W/cm2.  We had good data link (including fabulous video) throughout the test.  And we understand we have good data even further down in altitude from our Coquina downlink.  We should receive our full data package in the coming week or two, and then the reconstruction fun begins.

This PI could not have asked for a better outcome.  This success was completely due to the dedication of the IRVE-3 team.  Your branches provided key technical expertise, and I sincerely appreciate that support.  With this success, I believe we have more opportunities forthcoming, and I look forward to your continued support.  I'll keep you posted on those future opportunities, but first I wanted to thank you for bringing us this huge victory.

Neil Cheatwood, PI