The objective of this project is to win the 2015 Experimental Sounding Rocket Association’s 10th annual Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition by safely designing, building, launching, and recovering a high-powered sounding rocket to successfully go as close as possible to 10,000 ft.
High power rocketry requires a great deal of care and attention, due to the dangerous nature of rockets themselves. But it also provides an unparalleled introduction to a multitude of engineering skill sets necessary to not only design and build a rocket, but to achieve a successful launch. The Boise State University team is competing in the 10th annual ESRA IREC to gain an understanding of the physics and engineering practices that go into developing a rocket capable to reaching 10,000 feet AGL (1). The goal of this mid-year report is to provide an overview of the competition, flush out our major requirements, and explain what we have accomplished up to this point. It is also considered critical to document the methods and experiences used and gained, as valuable insight for other teams participating in the competition.
The total costs of building the rocket have yet to be fully developed. It is important to note that a similar rocket built by students of Boise State University cost approximately $2500.00 to design, test, and build a rocket following similar specifications (2). Funding for this project comes from corporate sponsors, Boise State University, and various private donors during fundraising drives. The financial goal is to maintain and track a budget that allows us to create a quality product for the competition.
The design of the rocket is in its infancy as dimensions, materials and payloads are still being determined. With the nature of engineering rockets and with time being a major limiting factor in truly understanding all the intricate details, the next goal is test small models using cheap altimeters to compare how closely experimental data matches the theoretical expectations. Simultaneously, the team will be developing the chosen airframe concept so that it is robust enough to withstand extreme acceleration and deceleration. The airframe concept must also be space-efficient enough to house all necessary electronics including cameras, redundant recovery systems, tracking systems and ignition and recovery timing. In order to better outline the work left to be done on the rocket design, a calendar detailing deadlines for deliverables is currently being constructed. The BSU ESRA IREC team is narrowing in on an effective deliverable rocket system that will fulfill the objectives of the ESRA IREC competition.