In contrast to military rockets and larger rockets that carry astronauts Stella 1 is passively stabilized, meaning that vertical flight is assured with fixed fins. These become effective only at certain velocity, that is why the rocket needs to be guided in the first meters of flight.
For that purpose we designed and fabricated a launch pad and did a first test assembly in September (Figure 2). It consists of a three-legged base and a tower. All three legs are adjustable, allowing the entire launch pad to be pointed vertically even on uneven ground. The tower is made out of steel pipes, which were welded into a very strong triangular truss, similar to those used in cranes. The entire pad can be disassembled and easily transported to the launch site. In the next step we will add a winch for raising the tower and powder coat the launch pad.
At the end of September, Tjaš and Nejc presented our progress at the Orkney International Science Festival in Scotland (Figure 3). Meanwhile we received some new parts for the motor of Stella 1 (Figure 4).