Thursday, February 15, 2007

Goings On

Some updates on propulsion and the team in general:

  1. First, a number of other team members have been electronically invited to post on this blog. Nothing yet, it seems, but I'll keep prodding them to add their comments.
  2. We are in discussions with UBC Campus & Community Planning about setting up a blockhouse on campus for engine testing. I have submitted our proposal and have the application form nearly filled out (waiting on two pieces of info from the UBC C&CP office). Along with this is a $350 application fee, but since we're getting the materials for the blockhouse donated (see below) it's not a bad deal overall.
  3. We have a new supporter: United Lock Blocks will be providing us with their heavy-duty 5' x 2.5' x 2.5' concrete blocks for the engine test enclosure. Check out their website for all your concrete block needs - they have a variety of interesting concrete products. These blocks will mean that we can easily reduce most of the noise from the engine (the blockhouse will also be covered) and that "mistakes" will be less likely to result in flesh wounds or amputation. I'm also thinking that it would be a nifty place to take cover in the event of a nuclear war.
  4. The launch team has a new project - wind tunnel tests. We have been trying to figure out how the rocket will behave in various cross-winds during the first few seconds of flight, so the launch team members (Mech. eng. students) will be building a scale model of Aurora-1 and running tests on it in one of UBC's two wind tunnels. Right now we're just making sure that our test procedure makes sense and that the wind tunnel simulation will be dynamically similar to the real rocket at launch.
  5. We will likely become registered with the Canadian Controlled Goods Directorate. This is something I personally hate to do due to previous personal problems with ITAR (some rules made by our southern friends and neighbors), but it will be necessary for us to obtain a GPS unit capable of handling speeds over 515 m/s and altitudes over a certain limit. Once we're registered we can then go to a GPS manufacturer who can remove the locks on the GPS device. However, I'm guessing that being registered with the CCGD probably means difficulties for international student team members (UBC is lucky to have many international students, many in engineering). More on this as it develops.
  6. Modeling of the combustion chamber in UniGraphics NX 3 has been slower than anticipated this week. This is because of my 3 assignments and 2 midterms, and having to spend time on all of the above. Unigraphics takes a while to learn, but is widely used in industry so I regard this as useful training.
  7. Aluminum stock came in for our structural boxframes. The boxframes form the "backbone" of the rocket and will contain most of the avionics, helium tank, parachutes, cameras, valves, et cetera. Skin will be attached to the outside of the boxframes (it's not stringer construction - when it was designed we hadn't taken the aircraft structures course yet) and the boxframes will be bolted to the integral tanks. The boxframes will be easy to attach "innards" to, easy to work with, much, much stronger than they need to be, and able to withstand high impact loads, so they are a very robust design. However, I privately suspect that a monocoque composite structure might eventually replace the boxframes if we ever need to lose serious weight. Perhaps this comment will entice Trian, the aerostructures manager, into posting a rebuttal.
  8. At our weekly team meeting on Wednesday (yes, Valentine's Day) I brought chocolates.
  9. Greg D from the Canadian Association of Rocketry and the BC Rocketry Club has invited some of our members to the premiere of "The Astronaut Farmer" tonight and provided passes. I've been looking forward to seeing this movie - and this is definitely the best way to go! As a matter of fact, it's time to leave campus...


Gord said...

Controlled Goods registration & compliance won't cause any problems with your international students.

You are more likely to run into a scenario where the GPS manufacturer will require you to limit those who have access to the unlocked GPS unit to those who are Canadian citizens only. Those with citizenships other than Canadian (including dual citizens)will need clearance from the US State Department. That would be an ITAR requirement that the GPS manufacturer will have an obligation to follow (assuming the manufacturer is American).

Dubya said...

Ouch...ITAR. I'm just a student and even I have had problems with that. I will save my comments on ITAR as it relates to Canadians for another time...

Yes, I got the impression that we would need to have an "approved list" for the GPS. I'll keeping posting as the thing continues.