Liftoff!!!

We managed to capture some in flight video of our full scale competition rocket using a tiny on board camera. Check it out!

The team backed up to the launch system and held our breath. Several months of work were about to be launched into the sky, hopefully it all came down in one piece.

 

Success! PHEW!

Came down on the parachutes and everything is undamaged!

 Almost ready to go!

Almost ready to go!

After a launch rail button snapped off as we were loading it on the rail on Sunday, the UMass Student Launch team fixed up the rocket and brought it out again on Wednesday. The weather had warmed up a bit since Sunday, which meant that the field was incredibly wet and hard to traverse.

 Greg pours water out of his boot.

Greg pours water out of his boot.

Launch Attempt

The UMass rocket team had quite a week last week. On Sunday we traveled out to CMass's Amesbury launch site and worked through some ground ejection tests.

 Nose-cone ejection test

Nose-cone ejection test

 Main ejection test

Main ejection test

 Drogue ejection

Drogue ejection

After completing all our ejection tests we put together the rocket and hiked out through the snow to the field.

In a heartbreaking turn of events, the launch rail guide snapped off as we were loading the rocket onto the launch rail. Sunday's launch had to be scrubbed. But we didn't give up and fixed it to return on Wednesday!

Fin Assembly

The fin cluster is currently in work to prepare for our upcoming full scale launch. Assembly has been going very well thus far.

 Masked and ready for the internal fillets.

Masked and ready for the internal fillets.

 Very nice internal fillets on the root edges of the fins

Very nice internal fillets on the root edges of the fins

 The fin sub-assembly is slid into the airframe and masked off, ready for some more epoxy work.

The fin sub-assembly is slid into the airframe and masked off, ready for some more epoxy work.

 Still in need of sanding and filling

Still in need of sanding and filling

 A couple of rockets

A couple of rockets


Building!

With very little time before our Flight Readiness Review comes up, the team is working to turn the designs we made into real physical products. Check out a few pictures of our nosecone system! Still a few tweaks to be made!

 Teeny tiny motor, with a 100:1 gear reduction. Should close the nosecone right up.

Teeny tiny motor, with a 100:1 gear reduction. Should close the nosecone right up.

 All the parts that aren't cardboard, metal or nosecone were printed on our Makerbot Replicator 2x!

All the parts that aren't cardboard, metal or nosecone were printed on our Makerbot Replicator 2x!

Laser Cutting

This week, Max and Nate had a chance to fabricate some parts on the laser cutter. The two part centering rings and fins were cut and test fit to ensure the system would work. Small adjustments were made for the actual thickness of the plywood being used. In the end, a perfectly fitting fin cluster was created. We are very happy with our aligning centering rings and cant wait to integrate this segment into the airframe.

 Pieces of the fin assembly

Pieces of the fin assembly

 Two piece centering ring design facilitates fin alignment.

Two piece centering ring design facilitates fin alignment.

 This fin cluster is ready for an airframe!

This fin cluster is ready for an airframe!

Build Updates

We have begun to receive components for our competition rocket and are very excited to begin fabrication. The nosecone system has been under construction this week.

 The new Magnaframe tubing and nosecone next to the Minuteman 1 and the UM rocket. Taking things full scale!

The new Magnaframe tubing and nosecone next to the Minuteman 1 and the UM rocket. Taking things full scale!

 Hot out of the printer, this piece holds most of the nose cone system together. We have been very happy with the printed ABS structures so far.

Hot out of the printer, this piece holds most of the nose cone system together. We have been very happy with the printed ABS structures so far.

 Some of the lower nose internals

Some of the lower nose internals

 The Makerbot finishing printing on the sample bed. Thanks again to the student run makerspace here on campus for their cooperation in our project.

The Makerbot finishing printing on the sample bed. Thanks again to the student run makerspace here on campus for their cooperation in our project.

 The sliding action of the nosecone works perfectly! Next comes the cutting of the coupler tube and the remaining internal pieces.

The sliding action of the nosecone works perfectly! Next comes the cutting of the coupler tube and the remaining internal pieces.

 The nosecone in its closed configuration.

The nosecone in its closed configuration.

We aim to complete the nose cone sample retention system in the next week and begin integration testing with the AGSE.

CMass Winter Follies Launch

The team traveled to Acton MA on January 17 to partake in the CMass Winter Follies Launch. This low power launch was an opportunity for all team members to launch some fun rockets and run some additional tests.

 Greg sets up on the launch rod

Greg sets up on the launch rod

The field was large and flat with some great ice patches. It was a cold day, but the lack of wind and sunshine made it quite enjoyable. First up, Andrew flew his small rocket which went straight as an arrow. This rocket suffered a fin fracture after landing on the hard ice.

Max brought an experimental cluster with some of our experimental fins that we were considering at the beginning of the project. This fins are printed in ABS plastic are a combination of a tube fin and a standard fin.

 Max sets up on the rod. Notice those funky fins!

Max sets up on the rod. Notice those funky fins!

Max's rocket flew a total of four times on different clusters. Each flight was successful and the fins did a great job.

Nate brought out a scale model of the full scale competition rocket made from an Estes developer kit. Unfortunately, due to a faulty Estes E9-6 the rocket suffered a massive CATO. The charge blew out the die wall of the fin cluster and the motor was propelled clear of the vehicle. A hard impact shattered the nosecone and upper body tube.

 Fantastic CATO off the rod

Fantastic CATO off the rod

 Post launch inspection

Post launch inspection

Greg brought out the UM rocket again, this time flying with single deployment. The rocket had a great flight, but drifted into a tree on the very edge of the field. The rocket was recovered with some damage, but shall fly again some day!

 The UM rocket flys again!

The UM rocket flys again!

We all had a great day at the launch and again thank all the people at CMass that make such an event possible.

 

Bulkhead Prototyping

Over the weekend I have been working on prototyping some of the many bulkheads to be used in the rocket. Taking a different approach than normal, our bulkheads will be manufactured out of a single piece of half inch plywood. The plywood is turned to give the shape, with chamfers added for ease of installation.

 CAD model of the lathe faceplate, bulkhead attachment jig and the work piece

CAD model of the lathe faceplate, bulkhead attachment jig and the work piece

 Bulkhead mounted to the turning jig.

Bulkhead mounted to the turning jig.

 A pair of fresh bulkheads with the parachute attachment hardware installed. These are the ends of the electronics bay.

A pair of fresh bulkheads with the parachute attachment hardware installed. These are the ends of the electronics bay.

A successful day! This method insures a proper fit and easy installation.

Happy New Year!