Launching of "Big Red" and the Cherokee D

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This page describes the spectacular collision of Big Red and the Cherokee D
Mike connects the Cherokee D in preparation for a double launch with Big Red.
The two launch pads were about 20 feet apart.
The mangled Big Red lumbers off the pad.
The Cherokee D shoots off a second later.

              We have no photos of what happened next, but here is an eyewitness account:

"Big Red took off. When it was about 30 feet high the Cherokee D shot off the pad. Under full thrust from its "D" engine, it struck the bottom of Big Red like a guided missile!

The impact wrenched the nosecone off the Cherokee D. The exhaust from Big Red's engine scorched the nosecone, body tube and fins. The body tube buckled from the collision and red paint scarred the length of it.

The Cherokee D, with its nosecone hanging off, began to yaw around on its own center of gravity,
spinning like helicopter blades without the helicopter.

Meanwhile, Big Red continued upward, oblivious to what was happening below."

                                   This should be accurate because the eyewitness was me.

Scorched nosecone
Comparing the damage
Seriously wounded.
The Cherokee D lived on for another launch.
Needs a fresh coat of "Invisible Paint"
It still looks good from the back.
The fact that there is a "back" to a cylindrically shaped rocket
is a testimony to Mikey's rocket building skills.

Launch crew: Tom, Matt, Chrissy, Mikey, Joe and Andrea
Nine rockets were launched this day. The launch was cut short because it started raining.
NEXT - rebuilding the rocket