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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All of our launches are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there this coming Saturday in Butner!
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!
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.
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.