Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Engine test related work

Yesterday's work consisted of two engine test related tasks. First we sent off our engine to Vitzro for spill and leakage tests. Second we fired a torch ignition system for the first time, using our own control and monitoring system. It was a useful initial test of our systems and procedures. I started to learn first hand the difficulty of rocket engine tests when I observed some mysterious interference on one of the control system's communication channels. It only happened when the spark plug ignition system was turned on. In combination with the torch igniting and becoming very noisy, it gave me a heck of a fright. Changing the location of the RS232 cable and uncoiling the power cable to the spark plug seemed to help, so we were able to complete the initial tests by this morning but I need to make sure the interference problem doesn't crop up again because it prevents communications from the control system to the operator's PC. Next up is firing all three igniters simultaneously. It's kind of exciting to be playing with some real fire at last :)