will be tethered to a fully reusable, piloted helium balloon and floated
to an altitude of 80,000 feet. The sequence starts with ground launch
of the balloon with the da Vinci project rocket tethered
720 meters below the base of the balloon at a 80 degree up angle.
Approximately 60 to 80 minutes will pass to arrive at the 80,000
foot launch altitude. Following a series of launch procedures, a 120
second automatic countdown sequence is initiated and the engines are
ignited. The computer
is in full control of starting the engines.
Immediately on engine start the rocket releases from the balloon tether
and for the next 8 seconds an 80 degree angle flight occurs followed by
thrust vectoring to 90 degree up angle for the balance of flight.
cut off occurs at 206,000 feet - at most 4G's and a maximum speed of
2,670 miles per hour (1.19 kilometers per second) have been reached. The
rocket continues up to apogee - about 100 seconds or 75 miles (120
kilometers) - and then begins free fall for 105 seconds. Total zero G
time is about 3.5 minutes.
ballute is deployed T plus 15 seconds after apogee and includes the
base area high temperature cone which doubles as the landing absorption
cushion to protect the engines.
During the ascent (and descent) stages, a fully
gimbaled camera platform attached to a helium balloon follows and films
GPS guided parafoil deploys at 25,000 feet.
When the landing occurs the inflated cone at the base
slightly deforms - rocket falls to one side and is supported by the
52 degree angle main ballute.