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From the Phantom front office

Posted 11-10-2010 at 07:45 PM by PhantomCruiser
Updated 11-10-2010 at 07:50 PM by PhantomCruiser

Fron the front office at Matagorda Island,

Well it looks it rumor quashing time again. Everyone knows we had a pretty spectacular event a few days ago, and since that time the guys have been working non-stop to find out what went wrong.

Earlier this morning, Mark Williams came to me, blurry eyed and disheveled, told me that he’d found the culprit. A few errant lines of code made our rocket want to behave like its big Block-II brother. Since the hardware for the two models is identical, it stands to reason that the guidance software would be similar, but it’s not…

The result was a fantastic liftoff, with the guidance thrusters managing the flight profile, but with the burnout of the first stage and the subsequent jettison of it and the interstage, the rockets weight was several thousand pounds less than the software thought it was, the results of which is evident in the video everyone has been watching for the past few days. Basically the rocket tried to maintain a flight profile that it wasn’t capable of, and the guidance program trying to get back on course and over-controlling as a result. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the primary mission for this launch was to validate the hardware that several countries have installed on some of their ships and aircraft. And to track an ICBM analog during its launch phase. And that mission was a great success. All five ships and the one aircraft tracked the ‘missile’ shortly after launch, sensors on the skin of the rocket show that it had been tracked from 10 seconds after launch, until telemetry data was lost. So, even though we made the rocket go boom, we met our goals and then some. Mark and his team have no reason to hang their heads in shame, they’ve spent long hours tracking down the gremlin, and we can put this behind us.

Now the guilty parties have been identified, and to put to rest the rumors, nobody get their head put on a chopping block. That’s not how we do business; we learn from our mistakes and move on. Everybody on the team comes back to work Monday ready to fly again. The next Block-I test will validate what we’ve learned, and expand the militaries capability to track an ICBM through not only the launch, but to engage and destroy it as well. Get your sunglasses out folks; this should be pretty cool to watch.

While everyone is home for the holiday, I want to express my great appreciation to all our veterans. Phantom Manufacturing is truly a multi-national company with 16 nations represented, and there are multitudes here that served their respective countries with distinction. Ronald Reagan stated that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction… It must be fought for, protected, and handed on...” let us all thank our veterans who have served, are serving now, and make a special place for those who will continue to preserve our freedoms in our future.

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