After a semester of work, our competition rocket is beginning to take shape. At the team meeting earlier this week the rocket became “Project Therion” the many-headed dragon of biblical lore. Our rocket is designed to ascend 10,000 ft, where it will deploy a small pilot parachute. The rocket will descend under the pilot to 5,000 ft. At 5,000 ft, a 67 foot parafoil will unfurl from within the rocket. A flight computer will guide the descending vehicle back toward a designated landing site.
All of the teams have been working hard on the pieces necessary for this vehicle to fly. A brief overview of the last semester for each team is below.
Avionics is developing a Linux-based Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) computer to help the parafoil find its way home. The instruments were designed as a Beagle Bone cape, which is currently being manufactured. The avionics instrumentation includes GPS, barometric altimeter, nine degree of freedom sensor, and a pitot tube.
Propulsion has very nearly finished its responsibilities for getting Project Therion up to 10,000 ft. A 4-grain 98mm motor case arrived at the lab recently. Inside of this motor case approximately 4.8 kg of propellant will wait to push the rocket skyward.
Structures is beginning the process of learning how to build a gargantuan 6in diameter, 10 ft tall rocket. The composites that form the majority of the structure of the vehicle will be the largest done by rocket team in recent memory. A number of technology demonstration projects are underway to build the institutional knowledge necessary for this project.
Deploying the parafoil to safely recover our rocket will require a new type of deployment mechanism. Both Payload and Recovery have been working to design the hatch to eject the parafoil. Recently, two possible designs were tested in a wind tunnel.