USLI -- Critical Design Review

We just put the finishing touches on our Critical Design Review report and PowerPoint presentation! Hilarious fact: the documents finished uploading to our website just three minutes before they were due.

But we put a lot into it, and if you're interested you should go check it out on our website: ISU-USLI.com

Within a week we will be ordering supplies and start assembling our payload and launch vehicle!

I was up until 6:00 am the other night working on this:


My First Wikipedia Edit

I never thought that the first time I would edit a Wikipedia page it would be on "Genocide." But I saw the most hopelessly out of place line I've ever seen on Wikipedia. So I deleted it. It was:

"[So and so] was here!"

I'm so proud of myself.


USLI -- Subscale Launch

We are required to prove our design by building a small scale version of our rocket and launch it. It was a fun weekend putting this little thing together and launching it. This Monday was rather windy in Iowa, but as you can see in the video at the bottom of the post, it performed rather nicely, even in the poor weather conditions. I have no doubt that our full-scale rocket will fly beautifully.

Snazzy way to make a custom nose cone.

Gluing the fins.

Completed rocket.

All systems go.


Rocket Propulsion Elements

I have had this book ever since junior year of high school, but have never been able to just sit down and read it through and through. (You see, in high school, there was a lot of math and science background that I was missing in order to even understand it!). Well, during Christmas break I decided very determinedly that I would read the whole thing.

Over break.

While that did not work out as planned (since I got sick and stopped reading), I have now picked up where I left off, at Chapter 4.

I've been learning SO much! I had already thought of myself as an expert in Rocket Science, but after reading this book I really will be.

Specifically what this book has taught me is about how liquid propellant engines work, and a lot about the thermodynamic relations that happen inside an engine. It also looks like it will tie in very nicely to my Dynamics course, and my Mechanics of Materials course, both of which I am currently taking.

When I am done reading I plan to continue my RocS 101 series, with a lot of information based on this book.

So awesome!

(By the way, there is now an eighth edition to this book. As far as I can tell, the only major difference is that they split chapter 10 into two chapters, and they have maybe 30 new figures/graphs. Also, it looks like there is more of an emphasis on electronic integration/monitoring of rocket propulsion systems. Largely the same book).

P.S. Look for a new post soon about a USLI update!


Tree House

My sister and I have always wanted to build a tree house, ever since we knew what a tree house was. But we never had the time, money or know-how... until now.

A lot of kids will go out with a hammer and some nails and some 2x4's they found in the garage and try to build a tree platform... But we did some research and are doing it the right way. For instance: our big 2x10's are each fixed at one end by a single 6" lag screw (to avoid compartmentalization), and at the other end by a bracket so that the trees can sway without breaking the boards or shearing any lag screws.

Once we have these beams up in the trees, we will work on putting a deck platform on top of the foundation, but we won't get to that during break.

This has been a great final "hurrah" for the end of winter break!

Our initial scouting yielded this perfect location!

I can just see us having a picnic lunch up there next summer.

Initial concept sketches.

On the way home from Home Depot. The 14' one is on the roof.

Got up bright and early... for once.

I had to blaze a trail out there, because a bunch of brambles had gone rampant all over the place.

Hauling timbers.

This picture is just to show that goofy grins run in the family. (It's not just me.)

A view from above as we put in the first beam.

The first beam installed.


So what does all this have to do with aerospace? I dunno, maybe making friends with the rocket-eating trees is a good way to get them to leave you alone...