Sissonne 2003

The pyrotechnic rocket launch campaign organized by CNES and Planete Sciences, took place this year in Sissonne (Aisne).

The Sissonne camp is located in the North of France near the city of Laon.

The 2003 International Space Festival

I went there, not only to see and support the Cles-Facil who launched Axelle a magnificent fusex and Gyro a balloon controlled by the direction sun, but also to launch Mecanix, a minifuse whose goal was to test an unprecedented recovery system in a pyrotechnic rocket and based on the principle of the aerodynamic shutter widely tested on water rockets.


As specified above, the originality of Mecanix lies in its recovery system by aerodynamic shutter. The diagrams below show the principle of locking the door by the shutter (on the left) and the entire rocket (on the right).

Contour de Mecanix

The result in real life:

The project team Mécanix...

Philippe, Laurence-Emmanuelle and Alain

Next to Panach a 1/2 liter water rocket

Just before the ramp

On the ramp before setting up the propeler

Fire !

Unfortunately, the shutter did not open probably because the spring was too weak and with the speed, not zero, at the peak, the door remained closed.


The purpose of the Gyro balloon project was to control the orientation of the gondola permanently towards the sun.

Attachment of the carrycot

(by the way, admire the CLES-FACIL t-shirt)

Ready to start inflation of the balloon

Let's go for inflation ...


and again...

Imminent take-off...

Let's go !

Along for the adventure.


Experimental rocket, propelled by a "Chamois" engine, Axelle carried numerous parameter measurements, among other things the acceleration (hence the name Axelle) by various types of sensors to compare the results of each of them. The measurements were retransmitted by radio and recorded in EEPROM in a droppable module at the apogee.

Everything worked out beautifully.

Axelle during mechanical checks

Successful exit from controls

Axelle waiting in the tent

Isn't she beautiful?

The whole CLES-FACIL team from Sissonne 2003

The same from behind (well almost all ...)

Take off !

After returning to earth, the pitot tube and the cone suffered a little, but otherwise everything is perfect.