Claymin’ Space Podcast Feature


I recently sat down with Vikram from Claymin’ Space to talk all things amateur rocketry. I had a great time talking about all the rocket projects happening right now all over the world, there are so many out there so apologies if I missed your’s, drop me a line and I can cover it here, otherwise, check out the podcast here!

Why Rocket Exhausts Look The Way They Do

I have read and been told, a good engineer can tell a lot about how the rocket engine is running by just looking at the exhaust.
Scott Manley goes into some good detail on why rocket engine exhausts look the way they do.

Video Caption: Why does the exhaust from the Space shuttle boosters & engines look completely different? There’s a huge variety in the appearance of rocket exhausts because different fuels, different technologies and different environments make them behave in a different manner.

Residual Propellants

A great blog post here, on the effects of residual propellants and how it affects the performance of a rocket.

Residual propellants have always been something I have known and read about but never really looked into the effects off. This could be worth investigating for any of the FAR-MARS prize participants, but this would depend on the flight profile in order to hit the 45kft.

At this scale, one could burn to overshoot the mark and use drag brakes and real-time processing to hit the required altitude, as an example. Those burning to depletion and hoping for the best, this may be something to consider, this could easily also be estimated for sims by conducting an all up stack test and weighing the rocket after burnout.

Anyhow, the post is worth a read regardless.

Are you a participant in the prize? I’d be keen to know how exactly you plan to hit the 45kft altitude!

Master of Research in Rocket Propulsion

I think this is relevant as alot of topics/groups I cover are University based.

Kingston University are offering a fully funded research opportunity in rocket propulsion, check out the link!

BTW you need to email for an application form before July 7th!

First Annual Spaceport America Cup

From the Spaceport America Cup website,

The Spaceport America Cup is designed around IREC – the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for student rocketry teams from all over the country and around the world. With over 110 teams from colleges and universities in eleven countries, 2017 will be the competition’s biggest year yet. Students will be launching solid, liquid, and hybrid rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet.

Video Caption: The Experimental Sounding Rocket Association and the Spaceport America Crew will host and support the world’s largest University rocket engineering competition on the vertical and horizontal launch campuses at Spaceport America on June 22-24, 2017.


Other Projects/Lack of Posts

As the university year draws to an end, this only means one thing, end of year exams. So I apologise in advance if post and news are sparse over the next month, if I do post a lot it is most likely me procrastinating!


In other news, I recently represented the University of Canterbury in this years Warman Design and Build competition, this competition is open to universities from New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia and is aimed at mechanical  and mechatronic engineering students.
We had to come up with a system that would transverse between two tables, suspended on a bar and finish in a set finish box on the other side.

We won our campus rounds but unfortunately were only able to place 4th at the main competition in Sydney, it all came down to time as you will see in the video below, we were only able to manage 7sec. 1st-Monash (Melbourne) (5sec), 2nd-University of Newcastle(6sec) and 3rd-RMIT(6.5sec) all placed ahead of us, although it came down to 0.2 points between us and RMIT for 3rd!

Here is our “Atlas pipe crawler” in the warmup rounds.

Our limiting factor in reducing our time was our main actuator, we just could not get enough voltage to it to have it extend faster, this meant we were running our drive motors at 70% out of the box as not to get to the bar too fast and have to wait, you can see at the end they are up to 100% when we leave the actuator behind. Our original idea for a tracked system was to easily transverse the bump strips and have the most direct line, but now seeing others easily take them with normal wheels makes me wonder if we could not have gained more speed there and by going to a 4wd system.

In all, it was a great experience, chewed up a lot of my spare time, and opened my mind on how there are many ways to achieve one task.

Rocket Engine Plumbing 101

I have previously posted about Scott Manley’s informative videos explaining more in depth information about rockets for Kerbel Space Program players. Looking into the physics and more engineering design, these videos are a good watch for anyone wanting to get to know rockets more.

This week Scott talks about rocket engine plumbing and engine cycles.