THE ZOOMER PROGRAM
The Zoomer Program was Team Horizons' first preseason attempts at TARC innovation, testing out our first non-kit rockets and then integrating the first steps of next-generation technology internally. Over the course of 2021 Summer, Horizonsproduced 2 flight-ready rockets and one drop test pathfinder for the Zoomer program in conjunction with the Scripps Ranch High School Aerospace Engineering club. Zoomer formed the foundations of the Zenith rocket, with our first simulations on the computer, first composite motors, first flight computers, and first electronic parachute deployment testbeds.
Zoomer 1 is Horizon's first TARC preseason vehicle, consisting of a simple payload rocket design. Constructed in March of 2021, TARC members learned key rocket-building skills and possible improvements to the manufacturing and launching pathway. Most parts of the rocket are 3D printed, exceptions being the body tubes. During its launches on 7/31/2021 and 8/1/2021 to 400 feet, Horizons analyzed the structual stability of the 3D printed parts and the performance of the onboard FC-1 flight computer. The first flight had excessive weathercocking, causing a crash that damaged the nose cone, but the second flight on an E30-4 was a complete success.
Doomer was a test of the Aero's first true use of the flight computer: using a specialized mechanism to deploy a parachute based on altitude instead of the delay charge from the rocket motor. It consisted of the FC-2 flight computer, prototype Zoomer 2 nosecone with parachute deployment system, and plastic safety parachute. During June 2021, Doomer was dropped from a drone at 200'. Key firmware improvents were made; the first two tests were failures due to a flaw in firmware, but the third and foruth drop tests were partially successful (parachute deployed but did not open) and successful, respectively.
Zoomer 2 is the connecting bridge to true TARC launch vehicles built on the processes of ZM1 and DM. It shares many 3D printed parts with Zoomer 1 including the coupling and motor mount systems, and utilizes an upgraded nose cone deployment system from DM's drop tests. During its launch on 8/1/2021 to 350 feet, members analyzed the structual stability of the 3D printed parts under force from a composite motor and the parachute deployment system's (PDS) performance under true flight conditions. While there was room for an egg payload within ZM2's dual payload bays, ZM2 launched with only Flight Computer 2. The flight was a partial success with the failure of the parachute to leave the PDS nosecone.
The Zoomer program was far before the TARC 2022 rules came out, and there were many changes that had to be made for the Zenith rockets that would suceed them. These include a shift to a parachute release instead of PDS, introduction of airbrakes for altitude control, and a much more weight-saving design focus with the additional payload required for two eggs.