Preliminary report from Zach Lefke, Research Associate in the Aerospace Systems Lab at the Hume Center:
The launch went off without a hitch almost exactly at 0530 this morning. I am incredibly pleased to report that the VT experiment was a massive success. We received thousands of packets from the payload at both the Mobile Ground Station and the Virginia Tech Ground Station. In addition to this we can confirm that the payload also received uplink comman...ds from the VTGS 4.5m Dish antenna (First Official Transmission from the VTGS!). We had a minor anomaly in the reception of one type of target emitter, but other than that (and the ridiculous amount of mosquitoes), we were very pleased with the launch and the results.
The Recovery boat almost immediately recovered the payload section after splashdown and we will be de-integrating the payload and retrieving the SD cards later today that will contain more data from the flight. The NASA Wallops folks all reported very positively about the flight, to the point they were almost concerned with how well everything went (everyone expected gremlins, and almost none showed up, Murphy must have been asleep at the wheel this morning).
Also, not sure if the attached image is too large or not to distribute, but it was taken by the NASA folks and shows the launch. If you look down in the bottom right corner, you can see the VT Mobile ground station all queued up and ready to receive data from the payload as the rocket approached apogee (~150km altitude).
Finally, I would like to send a special THANK YOU! and GREAT JOB! to Skylar (CPE) and Steven (AOE), two Hume/Space@VT undergrads that operated the VTGS for us this year during the launch (and helped get everything assembled and up and running in time for the launch this summer!). They did their jobs extremely well and operated the VTGS better than I operated the MGS (they remembered to do everything in the proper order and they recorded more data than the MGS)! This is precisely what the VTGS project is striving for......VTGS students operating the VTGS systems and supporting other VT student projects!
More analysis of the flight is to come as we examine the data recorded by the Ground Stations and on the VT Payload itself, but I think it is safe to declare MASSIVE SUCCESS of this year's Rocksat-X experiment.