Antares Mid-Power Launch Controller
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A sturdy low to mid power launch controller is built to launch all day and ignite clustered igniters quickly and completely; that's what Antares brings to the launch range. The Antares launch controller features 50 ft of durable 18 gauge lamp cord--well more than the 30 ft required to fly mid power motors up to G power, but it gives you more flexibility on pad and launch controller placement. Designed for use with 12V lead acid batteries, the battery clips into the launch controller cables about 6 feet from the launch controller and provides strong current to the igniters all day long.The controller features a safety key, and dual button operation required to launch. The yellow Arm button provides a low current to test continuity at the pad, with an audible beep and a red continuity LED right on the controller. When you're ready to launch, start your countdown, press and hold the yellow Arm button to check continuity, and then press and hold the red launch button!
You can provide your own 12V battery, or add the optional sealed lead acid battery and battery charger.
Current model uses small alligator clips to fit smaller batteries better than large clips. But the small clips will fit car battery terminals, too. Includes a spare safety key.
Designed in house and hand made in USA.
What's in a Name?
Rocketry Works tradition holds that we name our launch controllers after famous mission control centers and launch vehicles, as an homage to their history and service. For our mid power launch controller, we chose to name the Antares controller after the Antares launch vehicle that launches from Virginia's Wallops Island Flight Facility.
Safety Note on Continuity Current
Model rocket igniters work by passing an electrical current through a small piece of wire, usually inside a flammable pyrogen tip that burns hot enough to ignite the motor propellant. A launch controller like the Antares controller has 2 modes that pass current through the igniter--a low current that tests electrical continuity, and a high current that ignites the igniter. The general guidance is that launch controllers should pass no more than 40 miliamps through the igniter to test continuity, to avoid the risk of prematurely launching a rocket. We've tested the Rocketry Works Antares launch controller at 0.3 miliamps while testing continuity with a 12 volt 5 amp-hour SLA battery. This current is an order of magnitude less than the recommended maximum test current, essentially eliminating the risk of premature launch due to excess current during continuity testing. Launch current at the igniter clips using a 12 volt 5 amp-hour SLA battery is 13.6 amps--plenty to launch any igniter on the market today.