The student space race is heating up, with DARE to launch Stratos III later this year which is capable of achieving 80km (262,467ft) in altitude.
The Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group have posted a new update of their last year of rocket development activities. As is known the team switched from a hybrid rocket motor to a liquid fueled engine to power their Starscraper suborbital rocket, the last few months has seen the team test this engine.
On a mailing list that I belong there has been a bit of talk about the Vanguard rocket, you know the one that famously exploded on the pad with America’s first satellite on board!. Besides that the talk was focused on how it was able to achieve insertion of the payload into orbit, this eventually led to someone posting a link to a pdf of the “Vanguard Satellite Launching Vehicle – Engineering Summary“.
What does this have to do with amateur rocketry? A lot actually, pouring through the report one finds a lot of useful information and ideas that could be replicated in one’s own project, for example, the staging technique, which used simple explosive bolts, and the nose cone that had a simple spring mechanism in the top to make sure the halves split apart and clear the satellite and rocket stage. Although not state of the art at this date the report still provides a valuable insight into the rocket at the time and the engineering techniques and ideas used, well worth a browse over for the budding rocket engineer.
If reading a 200 odd page report is not your thing, then this video sums up and highlights the major points of the program, still worth a watch even if you are/have read the report.
An article from the New York Post, “New space race is happening on our college campuses” looks at the different universities in the US that are all pitted against each other in friendly competition to be the first student group to send a rocket to space.
I have been following a few of the more capable teams, notably BURPG and USC Rocket lab, USCRPL have come close but have had problems with their solid rocket motors and recently BURPG have switched from a hybrid rocket motor to a liquid-fuelled engine, this is due to be test fired soon. Watch these two teams as the race heats up!
You can read the full article here.