On Tuesday 18th April 2023 at 11:05 local time, HyEnD successfully launched its first N2ORTH rocket from the European Space and Sounding Rocket Range ESRANGE in Sweden.
The countdown started at 06:15 and went very smoothly. There was a short hold to finish filling the nitrous oxide from the intermediate tanks to the rocket tank, but otherwise there were no delays. With a final oxidizer mass of 95 kg and a launch elevation of 81°, the rocket reached an altitude of more than 64 km after about 2 minutes. This almost doubled the previous altitude record for student-built hybrids. The altitude was measured by GPS and the data will be released in the coming days and weeks.
The drogue parachute was successfully deployed and inflated shortly after reaching apogee. However, there were some issues with the recovery sequence that need to be investigated. This resulted in an increased landing speed and some damage to structural components, but the team was able to recover the entire rocket by helicopter.
The team is currently analyzing the data and preparing for the launch of the second N2ORTH rocket early next week. Depending on the weather situation and the results of the investigation, the oxidizer load and launcher elevation will be increased to reach an even higher altitude.
HyEnD would like to take this opportunity to thank the managers and reviewers of the DLR STERN programme as well as the launch and operations crew at ESRANGE. Their support is greatly appreciated, and we are very happy to be working together.