Wednesday, March 21, 2007

For Those Just Arriving...

...Welcome to our blog. Since RLV News has posted a link to this blog and our main site is down temporarily, I thought I'd provide a quick explanation of our project.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) Rocket Project is:
-composed of about 2 dozen undergraduate engineering students in Vancouver, Canada
-developing a rocket that is designed to ultimately reach 100km altitude and be reusable
-planning for first flight to >30,000 ft in October, with incrementally faster and higher flights to follow

The vehicle, Aurora 1, will feature:
-kerosene/lox bi-prop with 1500lbs thrust and augmented spark igniter
-primarily aluminum structure, modular to accomodate different flight configurations
-drag brake/parachute recovery
-microprocessor-based avionics system to control propulsion and recovery systems
-semi-mobile launch platform

To date, we have:
-completed structural design - currently procuring materials
-completed engine design - currently solid modelling
-completed recovery system design - currently sourcing materials
-completed several high power rocket flights using commercially procured solid motors
-completed a wind tunnel model - currently setting it up in the wind tunnel
-nearly completed launch platform design - waiting for wind tunnel results
-raised around $15,000 in grants from the university and over $4,000 of in-kind donations from sponsors

If you have questions or suggestions, please post them in the comments section. Be sure to come back often!


Robert Horning said...

I hope that you have been looking at other student-led rocket construction projects when doing this. It can be done, and done very well in a university setting.

One successful rocket I'm aware of is the Unity IV rocket that was built as a joint consortium of the students at Utah State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Weber State University (which is where the number "4" comes from). Weber State eventually dropped out, but there were some interesting results of this effort.

A Google search will give you much better information about this project, but I'm pointing out that other such efforts have been successful in the past.

Dubya said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Robert. It's true that a number of universities are doing rocket-related projects, some others include the Icarus team at Embry-Riddle, Mach-SR1 at U Colorado, and SDSU. The resources available at universities (software licenses, wind tunnels, workshops, etc) certainly help a lot, although since we're students a lot of time is spent just learning how to properly make use of them.

One thing I've been hoping to find is an inter-university competition for high altitude flight, much like the SAE and AIAA competitions for cars and airplanes. The "Rocket Mavericks" competition looks pretty promising in this regard as they will offer prizes for 30k ft, 60k ft, 100k ft and eventually 380k ft.