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Canadian Arrow Drop Test Scheduled for Saturday
Canadian Arrow
August 12, 2004

August 12, 2004 - With good weather forecast, Canadian Arrow, a leader in the race for the $10 million X PRIZE, is going ahead with a drop test of its space craft crew cabin from a helicopter into Lake Ontario.

The test, in preparation for the start of actual test flights of the main rocket, is scheduled for this Saturday. Here are some details:

  • Coordinates of drop test are 43.36.00 79.23.00, just south of Toronto Island Airport. (See map on following page).
  • The drop will begin on Saturday August 14th at 9:00am and finish at 10:00am with a weather alternate date of August 15th at the same time.
  • Four Seasons Aviation Ltd. is providing the helicopter that will drop the crew cabin.
  • The Coast Guard will be sending out a notice to warn boats and ships to stay out of that area for the 1 hour we require. There is a notice to airmen going out to warn aircraft to stay clear of that area as well.
  • Maximum helicopter altitude is 9,000 ft with airspeed of approx 60kts.
  • The parachute will open before 8,000ft with a decent rate of 20 to 30ft per second.
  • If all goes well the splashdown of the crew cabin will be less than 5 min after release from helicopter.
  • Following the test, the crew cabin will be towed to the National Yacht Club and this will give us data on how the crew cabin will tow in the open lake.

Our lead ship is from the National Yacht club and is called the Grand National. It will be positioned on the North West edge of the drop zone at approximately 2 km and should be a good guide to where to stay for photographs and video.

Geoff Sheerin will be available for interviews following the test at the National Yacht Club.

For more information contact: Geoff Sheerin, Team Leader
Canadian Arrow - 519-659-5852 Cell 519-671-2690

For general information on our project please check www.canadianarrow.com .

[Test Description]

The following tests will be performed during the Canadian Arrow drop test on Saturday, August 14, 2004.

  • Parachute deployment of a single 64 ft. diameter parachute. This test is to ensure that the crew cabin does not tumble and cause the parachute to become tangled.
  • Aerodynamic qualities of the chute and crew cabin during descent and variability of descent rate.
  • Splashdown while suspended from a parachute. A previous drop test from a crane provided some impact data but the crew cabin was in free fall and not suspended from a parachute. This test is essential to ensure there is no unusual rotation and impact decelerations that would be harmful to the astronauts.
  • Computers onboard the Canadian Arrow crew cabin will record position and impact deceleration etc.
  • A GPS will show drift in the water
  • VCRs will record an astronaut's eye view of the parachute deployment for use in training.
  • This is also a first time test of our recovery of the crew cabin and parachutes using a diver team from Cross Current Divers of London.
  • Following the drop test the team will need to successfully dry and pack these parachutes at the Canadian Arrow Space Centre to test our ability to be within the two week second flight limit of the X PRIZE.

After the recovery is complete, the crew cabin will be towed back to the National Yacht Club where it will be pulled from the water and hoisted by crane onto land. A full-scale mockup of the Canadian Arrow will also be on site.