EAST: New rocket to begin construction before September

EAST: New rocket to begin construction before September

Greater Danbury – Last night, Essexian Aeronautical and Space Technologies (EAST) announced that the Epstein Mk.IVE would begin construction before the end of the month. The Essexian were able to secure more details about the project, as well as an update on the status of their current rocket, the Epstein Mk.IIC.

What is the Epstein Mk.IV?

The Epstein Mk.IV was originally a concept launch vehicle developed by EAST to experiment with multi-stage rockets. Essentially, whilst all EAST rockets until this point have been ignited, flown up and come down again, a multi-stage rocket would launch, fly up, fire a second engine motor, fly up again and then come down. Having multiple stages allows a rocket to reach higher altitudes at the risk of added complexity.

The name given to this new concept vehicle was the Epstein Mk.IV, as the Mk.III name was already given to a multi-motor concept vehicle called the ‘Heavy’. The Mk.IV has been in design since February this year, progressing through several different design iterations until finally reaching the Mk.IVE. The ‘E’ version has been optimized much further than any other version, says EAST:

The Epstein Mk.IIB was able to reach around 100ft when we launched it in February 2020. However, even if we used the most powerful motor that’s compatible with the rocket, it would never reach higher than 450ft. The Epstein Mk.IV, along with the Maxwell Booster, was envisioned to exceed that ceiling from the start.

Initial designs were able to reach around 760ft if we utilised the most powerful rocket motor we could – which is a big improvement over the Mk.II, but we felt we could push it further. After 5 design versions over 6 months, the Mk.IVE should be able to reach over 1100ft with our most powerful rocket motors – in fact, even if we used the same motors used for the Epstein Mk.IIB launch, the Mk.IVE could exceed the Mk.II’s altitude ceiling of 450ft.

EAST, August 18th 2021
VehicleAltitude with ‘A’ motorAltitude with ‘B’ motorAltitude with ‘C’ motor
Epstein Mk.IIC60ft135ft456ft
Early Epstein Mk.IV120ft255ft760ft
Epstein Mk.IVEN/A*496ft1110ft
Chart displaying simulation altitude results of different EAST rockets. *EAST didn’t run simulations for using the Mk.IVE with an ‘A’ motor as it was deemed exceedingly underpowered.

In a tweet last night, the space agency announced that it would finally begin constructing the Epstein Mk.IVE and Maxwell Booster before the end of the month. The Nose cone and 8 fins are likely the first components that will be constructed as all are 3D printed in-house by EAST engineers. Likely following this will be the two fuselage components, followed by engine mounts, a launch lug, and other components. Essentially, what will be built first will be those parts of the design that have seen the least change to previous vehicles. Due to the multi-stage nature of this rocket, some parts will need to be altered from how they functioned on the Epstein Mk.II series.

When asked about the rocket’s earliest launch date, EAST gave no specific time range. However, it is unlikely to fly before 2022 – possible, of course, but unlikely. “It all depends on the speed of things, really”, our source said.

Epstein Mk.IIC – Delayed but not forgotten

Meanwhile, the successor rocket to last year’s Epstein Mk.IIB, the Mk.IIC (a refit of the damaged test vehicle itself), is apparently still being worked on. After months of delays – a year and a half, to be exact – the rocket is apparently almost ready, and the agency is aiming for a launch in early September.

The Mk.IIC has received some upgrades from its predecessor, including a new motor mount and new method of attaching it, a flight altimeter, and some colourful decals. In addition, EAST is hoping to launch it with ‘C’ motors this time; a more powerful rocket motor that could take the rocket almost 4 times higher than the Epstein Mk.IIB, at the cost of never having been flown before.

Whether EAST manage to launch either the Mk.IIC or Mk.IVE this year is anyone’s guess, but the agency has seemingly upped its game over the last week to really try and hit those deadlines.

Jack is the First Minister of Essexia, and former Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational.

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