Of The Month
CATO: Catastrophe At Take Off
Above: Firebolt on an E-12
motor = CATO
Bill Cooke is back again for the 3rd month in
a row with a pair of TARC practice launches that suffered the dreaded C word!
Below: An Over Easy
on a D-12 erupts in flame halfway up the rod = CATO
You've seen a D and an E CATO so far. Now for a very rare B6-4 engine CATO suffered
by an even more rare, Centuri Columbia Shuttle. The two photos that follow are screen captures from one of our launch
days back around May of 1991. As the oldest surviving rocket in our fleet (built in 1981) it had flown many times before this
and has flown many times since.
This shot is at the instant of ignition but instead of the
Shuttle rising off of the rod the black powder slug broke free of the casing and blew through the body tube, blowing
off the nose cone as it sails into the air.
Less than a half second later you can see the brighter, main slug, with the ejection segment
slightly higher, as they continue to rise. The two pieces managed to reach approximately 50 feet before they burned up completely.
The shuttle minus the nose cone is the small white object still sitting on the pad. Damage was limited to the nose cone and
shock cord. The cone was shattered when the black power knocked it off the main tube with enough force to snap the cord.
In 47 years of flying this is the ONLY B6 cato we have ever seen. I'm sure other flyers have
seen one but B motor CATO's are VERY rare!
Fear not, as I said, it has flown many times since and will again. Plus we have the same
vintage kit, unopened and mint, just waiting to be built.
Need a great gift for someone special...
Rocket Babe-Fallen Angel
Go To Fire & Smoke!