Hybrid Rocket Shop Tour

Alex has built a 4″ hybrid that with a minimal oxidiser load comes out to an N10,000 and with a full load to the mid to upper O range. The launch and ground infrastructure is also worth noting, custom rail with integrated load cell, turbine flow meter and pressure sensor with a ground monitoring station, this is what amateur rocketry is all about, it is good to see people going the extra mile.

His larger rocket is equivalent to an R10,000 and holds 200 lbs (90.7 kg) of oxidiser this will be impressive to see launch!

Student Race To Space…

It is always fun finding new student teams and organisations that are aiming for the Karman line. The newest find comes from an arsTECHNICA article, the Space Enterprise group at the University of California-Berkeley. The team plan to launch their Eureka-1 liquid-fuelled rocket to 135km with the launch to coincide with the 50th anniversary of manned space flight next year.
Engine testing is planned to begin in April.

Students aiming for space is not the newest thing and I do not really understand the fanfare around this announcement, the article fails to really take into account all the other projects happening around the world that have been at this for years.

The team issued a challenge, Project Karman, for other student teams to get on board and race to be the first.
This has had mixed reviews as stated in this article by The Daily Californian,

The reactions the team received after its announcement were mixed, according to Pillai.

“Georgia Tech’s Yellow Jacket Space Program was very receptive, MIT has been receptive,” Pillai said. “(USC) had an extraordinarily negative reaction to our announcement. … They are inclined to provide more criticism than cooperation.”

USC’s Rocket Propulsion Laboratory declined to participate in Project Karman because, according to its Chief Operations Officer Haley Karow, the project is not new, and SEB is sending a false message that it is the first student team to explore space rocketry. USC’s lab holds the current record for the highest collegiate rocket launch at 44 kilometers.

I can understand, USCRPL has been working for years towards this goal and now are the closest they have ever been to achieving it. They have already attempted two space shots, unfortunately unsuccessful. Both articles also fail to mention the Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group who have also been working towards the same goal for years and are expected to make a major announcement in a few days.

Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering over in The Netherlands is the closest organisation in Europe to achieving this goal, with their Stratos III rocket expected to launch in July and reach 60-80km in altitude.

One could also look at all the teams in the FAR MARS competition, due to launch in May, these teams will all gain experience with flying liquid-fueled rockets and with the prize money could easily also aim for a space shot next year, with the added flight and operations experience being a huge benefit.

In my opinion, I think there has been a silently acknowledged race for a few years now.
As for SEB, I’ll be waiting to see the outcome of their engine test due to occur next month, but never the less, always great to see another ambitious student rocket project!

Stratos III Construction

Parts for DARE’s new Stratos III rocket have been accumulating in the team’s workshop. Stratos III will build on the successful flight of Stratos II+, which achieved an altitude of 21.5km in October 2015. Stratos III is designed to surpass the current European altitude record of 32.3km and could even hit the edge of space before the end of 2017!

This photo on Instagram really shows the size increases over their previous rocket engines!


Help Support PSAS in 2017!

Portland State Aerospace Society are once again crowdfunding to help their rocketry and space efforts, with the goal of launching a rocket to 100km as well as building Oregon’s first nano-satellite!

If there is any crowdfunding campaign to support, this is the one, the team are truly open source and everything, like everything they do can be found on their Github page, it is on my pages to visit once in a while and it has even helped with my own efforts.

Check out their campaign and make sure to donate to a great cause!!

Sugar Rocket Flight to 57,000ft

Andrej Vrbec has released footage and information on his latest sugar rocket project, a boosted dart flight to 57,359ft.

The rocket used a 110mm diameter booster, which had an average thrust of 9606N (2159lbf) equivalent to an O9000 motor size, with a 50mm diameter dart rocket on top. The dart was fabricated from stainless steel and fibreglass and had a mass of 9.3kg, the flight was logged using a Perfectflite Stratologger CF and an ARTS-2, with tracking via a BigRedBee 70cm HP GPS.
The flight was considered a success, the booster burned out at 3.5sec and at 4000ft, where the dart then coasted to apogee which took more than 50sec. A 18in diameter parachute was deployed at apogee and the dart was recovered some 8km from the launch site, unfortunately the booster recovery system failed and it impacted ballistic about 1km from the launch site.

Andrej’s next project is to replace the dart with a sustainer in order to reach over 100,000ft.