2019 Student Launch Proposal

September 23rd, 2018 - Article by Joseph Taylor

It's official! Our proposal has been submitted to NASA! We are very excited about our design for this year, our capabilities will be challenged as they never have been before! The following is an abridged version of our proposal: This year, we were given two choices for the competition organized by NASA. We can either develop a rover that will autonomously deploy after the rocket lands and collect a soil sample via a robotic arm or develop an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The UAV is required to deploy after the rocket lands and then fly delivering a navigational beacon to a pre-determined location. After intense debate, our team chose the latter option. Building on what we learned last year, our rocket will be made of fiberglass rather than the much less durable blue tube that was used last year. It will be approximately 8 ft tall with three stabilizing fins, a divergence from the four fins we have traditionally used in the past. The UAV will be ejected from the rocket within a capsule upon landing before deploying to complete the remainder of the challenge. We'll learn if our proposal was accepted on October 4th. Stay tuned! To access our full proposal Click here!

Full-Scale Flight and FRR

March 5th, 2018 - Article by Joseph Taylor

On February 24th, the team went out to the fields of Bayboro, NC for their first full-scale test flight. In fact, the launch was almost postponed after a black powder charge test earlier in the week damaged the body tube. The team worked quickly and efficiently to repair the damage so that we could be ready to launch as planned. That Saturday, the day went mostly without a hitch, and we were greeted by another Student Launch team (UNC Charlotte) at the field. After completing the launch day checklist, the rocket was carried out to the pad. An igniter was inserted and the team retreated to a safe distance where we waited. When the countdown reached zero, a brief pause followed and then a roar of life filled the air. A bright green flame cleaved the sky in half and our vehicle took to the skies. Upon recovery, the team discovered that the wind had dragged the vehicle through a significant amount of water damaging the body tube, and the parachute shock cord had further torn it down the side. After interpreting the series of beeps from the altimeters it was also noted the altitude was much higher than expected with the vehicle cresting just over 5,900ft, over 300 ft higher than the maximum allowed altitude by the competition. The ends of each body tube that were damaged were reinforced with fiberglass to prevent future damage and an addendum to the Flight Readiness Review, submitted this morning will be necessary. The recertification flight scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 10th.

Full-Scale Progress

February 4, 2018 - Article by Joseph Taylor

After successfully submitting and presenting our critical design review, the parts arriving in the mail have begun to trickle in as we gear up for our full-scale rocket launch. The packages were few and far between at first but construction has begun to ramp up. We’re currently in the process of 3D printing the rover body assembly, sanding, and cutting components whilst waiting for the rest of the launch vehicle structural parts to arrive. We’re all very eager to see this project come to fruition. The aesthetic design sub-team is already beginning to brainstorm designs for this rocket’s paint job. Our planned launch date is Saturday, February 24th around 1pm in Bayboro, NC with a rain-date the following Sunday. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for photos and updates. Wish us luck!

2018 Student Launch Proposal

September 21, 2017 - Article by Joseph Taylor

For the 2017 NASA Student Launch Initiative, the NC State High Powered Rocketry Team was presented with several different challenges. The team opted for the scenario that required the launch vehicle achieve an altitude of exactly 5,280ft before deploying a recovery device and descending safety back to the ground, deploy a rover and finally deploy solar panels. To accommodate the added complexity and weight of a rover, the team opted for a larger vehicle design with a proposed length of 9ft and a tube diameter of 7.5in. To keep the vehicle weight down, the construction material, blue tube was selected as opposed last year's fiber glass body tube design. During the launch vehicle's descent, a tube mounted inside the vehicle, containing the rover will be ejected from the rocket body. The rover housing has been designed to rotate freely on ball bearings within the body tube. It is weighted in such a way that upon landing the rover will be able to exit the rover housing in the correct orientation. The rover itself will be shell shaped, 3D printed, and is designed to travel the required straight-line distance of 5ft via a single motor powering a set of treaded tracks. After achieving the required footage, the rover will deploy a set of flexible solar panels stored inside the track housings. The team is excited to break ground on this project and is looking forward to another great year.
Click here to view the proposal.

FRR and Open House

March 28, 2016 - Article by John Inness

On Friday, March 18th, the team gave the Flight Readiness Report, or FRR, presentation to NASA. The FRR encompasses any minor changes made since the Project Design Report, which there were a handful for the design. One of these changes included adding a few legs to the AGSE to prevent bending in the frame for increased strength and safety. Other cosmetic changes were made to enhance the overall design and appearance of the rocket and the AGSE. These changes will be added to the rocket and AGSE in the coming weeks prior to leaving for Huntsville.

The Team following the FRR presentation.

On Saturday, March 19th, the team hosted a booth at the NC State University Engineering Open House to talk about the club's involvement with NASA and local outreach. This event is geared towards high school students to get them excited about engineering and clubs along with other student organizations at NC State. This Open House event has a personal meaning to me because I attended the same event when I was in high school and actually visited the high-powered rocketry club booth. In the long run, this made me decide to focus on the space side of aerospace engineering versus the aircraft side.

Team at NC State Engineering Open House.

AGSE Progress

March 14, 2016 - Article by Daniel Mahinthakumar

It's taken months of planning and weeks of building, but we have finally made good progress on our Autonomous Ground Support Equipment (AGSE). There is of course still a lot of work to do, and we will be working diligently in the coming weeks until our competition in Huntsville, AL.

Astronomy Days

February 4, 2016 - Article by John Inness

The club greatly enjoys helping out at these events. In the past, we have done outreach events at schools, campus events, and more. On January 30 and January 31, 2016, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science hosted its annual Astronomy Days event. The club helped out with the Tripoli Rocketry Association exhibit by bringing some of the club's previous competition rockets and sending volunteers to speak about what we do with rockets. Two of our mentors, Jim Livingston and Alan Whitmore, are both long term members of Tripoli Rocketry Association and have provided us with invaluable help for designing and launching our rockets. The club is always willing to help out local rocketry clubs and enthusiasts with outreach events scheduled throughout the year. If you have any interest in having the club talking about rockets, engineering, STEM, or have questions about high-powered rocketry in general, please send an email to All of our launches are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there this coming Saturday in Butner!

Astronomy Days rocket collection. If you want to see more photos, click here.

CDR Now Available!

January 15, 2016 - Article by Daniel Mahinthakumar

The team has worked very hard and diligently to produce this years CDR. We hope everyone reading it will get a good insight into our project. We look forward to the coming weeks as we start construction on our full scale rocket and AGSE. Our CDR Presentation is coming up soon, so wish us luck!

Go Wolfpack!

Red Means Go!

November 5, 2015 - Article by John Inness

On October 24, 2015 the team launched Red Means Go, the team rocket from the 2009-2010 USLI competition, in Bayboro, North Carolina. The rocket reached an apogee of 3,713 feet according to the main altimeter. The rocket was launched with a small custom L motor made by our mentor, Alan Whitmore. At apogee, the main charge successfully seperated the tail and main body section with the drogue chute being successfully deployed. When the rocket reached 700 feet above ground level, the main chute successfully deployed and the rocket safely descended to the ground dwithout damage.

Red Means Go lifting off the rail. Photo courtesy of Nathan Cox.

The primary purpose of this launch was to show new members what a typical launch day is like. In addition to that, an experiment was completed to test an altimeter-Arduino coupled system. The altitude data was collected in order to serve as a proof of concept for a planned airbrake system in this year's competition rocket. Using this data, we can design a system to have the rocket achieve an apogee of exactly 5,280 feet. Our next planned launch will be November 21, 2015 with the launch of our subscale rocket.

The NCSU High-Powered Rocketry Team and Red Means Go. Photo courtesy of Joseph Taylor.