After carefully evaluating the onboard data from last week’s HEROS 3 flight, we can now happily confirm the maximum flight altitude of 32300m (~106000 ft). This sets a new record for European student and amateur rocketry which was held until now by Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering and their rocket Stratos II. Furthermore, to our knowledge this is also a new altitude world rocket for hybrid rockets built by students. The maximum speed of HEROS 3 was 2600 km/h with a Mach number of 2.3. The drogue parachute deployed at Apogee as intended and the rocket safely descended to the ground, where the main parachute opened and the rocket landed softly without any damage in 20 km distance to the launch pad.
The launch angle of HEROS 3 was at 80°, which is quite low, since experimental rockets are subject to higher safety requirements at the European Space and Sounding Rocket Range (ESRANGE). Additionally the rocket was only filled to about 70% of the tank volume with oxidizer. The reason for this is that we wanted to make sure with the flight of HEROS 2, that the rocket structure can sustain the high thermal and mechanical loads of supersonic flight. Unfortunately HEROS 2 was not sending any flight data and could not be recovered. Therefore, we decided that also HEROS 3 should not be filled to its maximum level to make the flight as safe as possible. According to analyzed flight data form HEROS 3, a higher launch angle and a fully filled tank would enable a maximum flight altitude of up to 50 km. Currently the team is busy with processing all the data and video recordings. We proudly present a first, short glimpse on our onboard camera footage in the above video. More video material is currently processed and also flight data graphs will be released in the coming days.