'Richard Hammond's Crash Course' Recap: 'Rocket Scientist/Bike Messenger' (Season Finale)
Richard Hammond has only two more jobs to tackle in season two of Richard Hammond's Crash Course: rocket scientist in the Mojave Desert and bike messenger in San Francisco. Both subjects he hasn't fared well with in Top Gear challenges, so this ought to be a classic.
His first task is to join the folks at Stellar Exploration in building and launching a rocket. His mentor for his assignment is chief engineer Michael Bertino, who explains the basics of a rocket to Richard before they dig into the specifics of the actual one they're putting together. Richard's first duty is a big one: to put together the actual 'brain' of the rocket, a very small but very crucial piece of equipment. "You might want to check it," he quips afterward.
After that, it's on to assembling the rocket's motor and then packing its parachutes. Finally, the nose cone must be attached. Well, that was relatively easy. With the rocket in one piece, the team waits until the following day to launch it.
Richard's horrified when he arrives at the launch site the next morning and sees the rocket he just helped build in pieces. Turns out the 'brain' is confusing vertical with horizontal. He is assured this has nothing to do with his assembly work from the day before, but that doesn't make him feel much better. Neither does knowing they have a very limited window of time in which to correct the problem and launch the rocket.
With less than twenty minutes left, the Stellar team finally recalibrates the navigation sensor and hustles to get their rocket off the ground. For Richard, whose last attempt at rocket science involved crashing a Reliant Robin space shuttle in a huge fireball, this is an exciting moment. He's been given the honor of throwing the switch that will launch the rocket, but when he flips it, nothing happens. With only a minute and a half left on the clock, it's time to panic again.
The second attempt is a failure as well, and the launch window expires. The team can try to launch again the next day - if they can figure out why it didn't work.