Lessons Learned the Hard Way

This list pertains solely to rocketry. I decided I was going to make a list of every mistake I made that resulted in failure of some kind. My goal is to never make the same mistake twice. I’ll be updating this list every time I make a mistake. Hopefully that will be rarely. On the other hand, “if you want to succeed faster, double your failure rate”. I really learn things when I learn them the hard way. Ideally one makes the mistakes at the unimportant times so that things work when it matters. We’ll see!

  1. Take your time loading the motor and stop and ask if you have any doubts whatsoever. There is exactly one correct way to load the motor. The first flight of Canis Minor failed because the motor CATOed because I loaded it wrong.
  2. Make sure things that shouldn’t come apart can’t come apart. I lost a (broken) camera because the nose cone came loose when it shouldn’t have.
  3. Drill holes in any bulkheads in the booster foreword of the motor. I destroyed Canis Minor because I didn’t do this and it lawn darted.
  4. Make sure your deployment strategy takes the rocket design into account. I destroyed Canis Minor because I didn’t do this and it lawn darted.
  5. Use wadding and deployment bags. I melted the streamer on the Supersonic Aura and broke a fin on landing. I also burned a parachute.
  6. Turn off the electronics if you are working on your rocket on the launch pad. I inadvertently set off the ejection charge when I remove the payload bay to add wadding.

I think that’s it so far. These are mistakes I will not make twice!

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

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