T3 Report.PNG

Traveler III was an 8 inch diameter vehicle intending to reach space by being the first student-designed and built rocket to pass the Kármán line. The launch in the fall of 2018 out of Black Rock Desert followed the successes of Fathom II and Graveler II, which collectively validated each subsystem for this spaceshot. However, due to a miscommunication before launch, the vehicle was ignited without the avionics payload armed. This led to no data from the rocket being transmitted to the ground or a deployment of the recovery system, causing the vehicle to follow a ballistic path on its descent. Traveler III was found downrange in one central location, but in countless pieces due to its impact with the ground.

From a visual inspection during flight, Traveler III appeared to work as intended. No aerodynamic acrobatics were observed as the vehicle flew along a consistent path, and a full motor burn was observed from the ground. Additionally, the sonic boom from reentry occurred at a time consistent with a full burn and ballistic trajectory as predicted from the flight simulations. With these observations, along with the downrange location and simulations of the vehicle, Traveler III is projected to have gone over 370,000 ft, breaking through the threshold of space. However, the avionics payload and Go Pro cameras were shattered upon impact, which resulted in a lack of data about the flight.