I have delayed posting about this semesters project for awhile now, but now that I have a decent amount of material to present it is time to post it here.
The idea of a rockoon system is to lift a rocket high above most of the atmosphere on a balloon, in order to minimize the drag loss. Extreme altitudes can be reached at a reasonable cost.
So I was looking for a new project to start at the beginning of this semester, and I went to talk to the project adviser about it. There was really only one rocketry related project going on at the time, one in which I had participated for the last two years (USLI). I was about ready for something new.
My initial idea was to design, build and test fire a rocket engine, either a hybrid motor or an aerospike engine. He told me that that was going to be very tricky... the design part was obviously not an issue, and not even the build part. But testing a rocket engine on campus was going to be a challenge running by Risk Management. He wanted to see a project that was reasonable to see through to completion, and suggested that I look into restarting the Rockoon project. This would be something we would actually be able to fly, and if we got everything to work we could reach extreme altitudes, up to 150k feet or more.
Last week we just completed our preliminary design review (PDR) and were reviewed fairly positively. Below are some pretty pictures from the presentation:
- Find RockSim Pro and refine design. Do simulations.
- Refine launcher design (Materials ideas: balsa & fiberglass composite, minimum amount of aluminum)
- Ansys, CFD. ß lower priority
- Start ordering supplies!
There may be an interesting complication that may inhibit our ability to launch by the end of next semester, but I want to wait before posting about it. (You'll just have to wait and read the next post. Don't worry, it's nothing bad...)