What a way to start the year! MIT Rocket Team have certainly set the mark for others to follow with the test of their new P motor. Yielding a 15 % performance increase from last year’s tests, delivering a peak thrust of 12,632 N, specific impulse of 74,042 Ns over a burn time of 8 seconds. The motor is intended to power the team’s Hermes II rocket to ~86,000 ft, which will serve as the first stage for a space shot attempt in 2020.
Video Caption: This is the team’s third P motor test, and our most successful one to date. Using only 3 grains, the motor’s volume loading increased. The new propellant formula burned slower, and with better specific impulse. All combined, our various improvements yielded 15% higher performance than last year. We are preparing to fly this motor in March.
Video Caption: Mixing over 290 lbs of propellant for 236,380 Ns of Impulse, the MIT Rocket Team has one of the premier student propulsion teams on the planet, and we’d like to recognize the countless hours they’ve put into their work. Producer: Sam A.
Of note, this was the second largest university built rocket motor and the largest rocket flown by the MIT team!
Video Caption: MIT Rocket Team flew Hermes 1 on July 21, 2018 at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry site in California. Hermes 1 weighed 121 lbs at liftoff, and flew on an student developed O4300 that delivered the vehicle to 32,400 ft above the Mojave Desert. A newly developed piston based recovery system deployed a disk-gap-band parachute we based on the design from the Viking landers. At 2,000 ft above the desert floor the main parachute was extracted by the drogue, allowing for a safe landing 1.8 miles from the launch site. The student build carbon composite fin can fared well during the flight. The rocket flew a payload developed at the University of Victoria as part of an inter-team collaboration to study DNA repair mechanisms in microorganisms.
The team is grateful to our many industry sponsors, the many mentors we’ve had along the way, and our peers at other universities for their insight and friendship during this launch campaign, and we look forward to returning to IREC in 2019.
Big ups to the MIT Rocket Team team for posting this and sharing their experience. We can all learn from this, but most importantly no one was hurt or injured. A testament to having good safety protocols in place.
Looking forward to seeing the issues resolved, and future testing carried out.
Video Caption: At T+ 2.9s a combination of insufficient grease, poor polyurethane application, and inconsistent assembly technique lead to a catastrophic burn through of the thermal liner in the middle of grain 4.
The motor self extinguished at the catastrophic loss of pressure, but the propellant which remained in the motor reignited several seconds later due to residual heat.
This test did not endanger any people. Always use care when testing rockets.
As reported earlier, this test happened at the end of February, this is the full video of the days activities.
Video Caption: On Feburary 23, 2018 the MIT Rocket Team burned our first P-Motor. The motor delivered full impulse, despite ejecting parts of the thermal liner for the first and second grains, which burned out early as intended.
Higher than expected combustion efficiency yielded a faster burn and higher pressure than expected. Details here: http://rocketry.mit.edu/2018/02/p-190…
The MIT Rocket Team recently tested their first ‘P’ class rocket motor (Wikipedia has a good table on the class ranges) at the end of February.
… This test produced 65,077 Ns at a peak pressure of 1440 psi and 22,970 N of thrust.
For all my imperial unit readers, that is 5163lbf of thrust, but the test did not go entirely to plan with the motor ejecting several thermal liners during the burn.
The team states,
…As the design pressure and thrust of this motor were greatly exceeded, we think it likely that aluminum combustion (triggered by the increased residency time in a longer motor) lead to the unplanned increase in burn rate, the increase in combustion pressure, and then triggered the cascade of failures.
The motor did well to hold up, of which I look forward to the next test. This size motor will propel the teams Hermes rocket to 80,000ft in June at Spaceport America.
You can read the team’s full update here.
Ignition! The teams first monolithic finocyl motor set team records for highest thrust and highest efficiency, peaking at 6800 N of thrust and 224.2 s of isp.
The team is really pushing forward with their work on solid rocket motors, great to see so many frequent tests on variously sized motors.
I expect to see good things at this rate of progress!