The MIT Rocket Team is currently developing Odyssey, a solid fueled rocket designed to carry a 10lb payload to 10,000ft in an effort to compete in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in June 2015. Originally, the team was working on a liquid fueled engine. Due to loss of access to a blast chamber in February, progress on that project is postponed indefinitely. Fortunately, the team had already developed a back-up plan for a solid fueled rocket. In a matter of 3 months we were able to conduct our first test flight on April 12th in Maine.
Here is a video of the launch:
Planned Mission Profile (Click to enlarge):
Launch to apogee went flawlessly as shown in the video. However, recovery failures led to parachutes deploying incorrectly, ending in a destructive landing. Investigations of the remains reveal that the drogue and payload did not deploy at apogee. Reaching speeds up to 300mph, the payload main deployed but ripped and the booster main deployed but disconnected. No avionics, including four altimeters, two GPS modules, and one camera survived the flight. For the next test flight on May 9th, we will add bigger charges to successfully deploy the chutes at the right time, replace the old chutes with stronger ones, and add a black box to save data in case of another unplanned rapid disassembly. “Rockets are tricky.” -Elon Musk
Fortunately, the destroyed rocket does not hinder our efforts in competing at IREC in the summer. The design is completely finalized and team members already have experience building the rocket. The plan is to launch again on May 9th 2015.
The recovery failure was puzzling mostly because the team performed successful black powder tests on the ground to make sure that the tubes would separate and break the shear pins.
Odyssey before launch:
“Landing” – The crash site was well documented in order to do proper investigation for the cause.
Current CAD model:
Current Open Rocket model:
The team will try launching again on May 9th 2015