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Completion of Historic Space Launch by Maine Company

On Sunday, Maine bluShift Aerospace’s small crew entered historical books when its Stardust 1.0 Rocket flew into the sky. This marked the first world rocket’s commercial launch fuelled by a bio-derived fuel. It was also the first Maine commercial rocket launch.

Sacha Deri, the bluShift Aerospace CEO, said that at around 6 a.m and the temperatures were below 14 degrees. He said the reason for considering temperatures is because their battery pack cannot be used below minus 10. He further explained that skies become cloudy, and at around 10:30 a.m, the skies were clear, and the launch started. The most unfortunate thing is that the rocket never left the tower. Deri said that this was attributed to the main valve being under-pressurized, hence not opening.

Deri said that this experience made them learn more; adding that they didn’t want to lose gas though they realized this was not the right thing to do. An hour later, the company carried out another launch attempt, which was also unsuccessful as the ignition fluid ran out. Deri said that the ignition fluid is different from the bio-derived fuel.

At 1.56 p.m, the rocket was refilled with ignition fluid, and it instantly pressurized and heated the system, ready for the launch. Deri said that everything moved as planned from there, and at around 3 p.m, they launched the rocket without any detectable issues. The payload parachute was then deployed on time for the materials to reach the ground safely.

Deri said that the good news and what they are proud of that they had a successful launch. He added that they are also happy that the rocket landed on an easy-access place. Deri acknowledged the Bouchard family for their efforts to locate the rocket. He added that the rocket was located within a short period on the snowmobiles. The Stardust 1.0 Rocket’s launch was supposed to occur on 28th October 2020 but was postponed to November to allow the team to do extra performance tests. During the testing, the engineers found out that the rocket’s design could be improved; thus, the second time postponement.

Some improvements were made on the rocket, including adding extra heat shielding, boosting datalink reliability, and improving the O-rings. After thorough preparations, the launch was to take place on 15th January 2020, but they could not get the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval due to cloud cover. The launch was planned to begin at 8 a.m but moved to 10 a.m. For a launch to move on, the company needs to notify the FAA one hour before, then after 15 minutes before the launch, and a minute after the launch is finished.

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