Semester in Review: Fall 2018

Jess Millard, Communications Lead

Eagle Space Flight Team has experienced growth and numerous accomplishments this past semester. While the task of creating a rocket to reach the Karman Line with limited industry experienced, and university resources, is definitely a challenge. Members of the team are dedicated to our mission and ready to take on this challenge.

This past semester, the team was focused on finishing out Phase I of the SpaceShot-1 timeline. In this phase, the team must formulate a detailed plan for the SpaceShot-1 mission, then prove its feasibility. This design phase is crucial to the team’s success, and will give team members and strong foundation to build upon. Each sub-team has put in an incredible number of hours this past semester, and together have created a “master plan” for SpaceShot-1. Read about their progress below:

Propulsion Team  

The propulsion team mixed and static fired three 98 mm 1-grain motors to characterize the propellant currently being explored for SpaceShot-1. They been exploring feasible designs for the motor casing by designing and fabricating a 4" motor case that we will, hopefully, be able to scale up for future phases. They also determined the software previously used to design contoured nozzles was invalid. As a result, they have been searching for and validating new nozzle software.  

Furthermore, the propulsion team has been demonstrating the overall feasibility of SS-1 with an S-motor. They have determined that the motor will most likely be 10" and 20' long or 12" in diameter and 12' long and is very possible. They decided to continue with a bates and single-stage motor.  

They encountered a few challenges this past semester, one of which was was deciding to pick a propellant first so they could start designing rather than dealing with multiple variables. They also had to wait out bad weather conditions in order to start mixing propellant and test it. Taking on new member caused a steep learning curve for both new and old members. This caused a stall in production, but was easily overcome with time.  

Structures Team 

The structures team designed the parachute deployment and method by using a tethered drogue with ballute parachute. They also developed a buckling and stress code for the body tube and motor case. This code determines an optimal thickness, length, and width for our rocket. They investigated transportation methods for SS-1 to the launch site. This included researching rental trucks and trailers to accomplish the job safely. They also had to take in any potential issues of the type of vehicle they rent and certain driver's license class may be required. 

The team researched possible locations/mills for machining parts and purchasing of materials. They discovered decent amount of parts can be machined on campus, but important accuracy required for the motor case would need to be off-campus. The off-campus CNC mills haven’t been very cooperative especially with the mentioning of a student run project. As of now, the structures team found a couple of sites that are reachable, but further research will be conducted.  

The team collaborated on developing a fin flutter code to optimize fins. This code is important to ensure fin geometry to withstand high speeds to prevent failure. They ran into difficulties of viable equations due to them only be applicable to lower altitudes or for model rockets. As of now, they are confident that it is valid and will be presenting it to the EFST faculty mentor, Dr. B, to verify.  

The structures team is currently conceptualizing an easily transportable and effective launch tower to withstand weight, forces, and temperature on launch. They are also researching the potential of heating of the outer surface due to friction. It is difficult to begin in depth analysis due to the lack of knowledge of heat transfer and using it in ANSYS.  

Electrical Team 

The electrical team made progress on the SpaceShot-1 mission by defining a launch plan and creating a set of standard requirements for the sub-team. A trade study was completed for an antenna to affix on the lime SDR and UDOO Operating system. During this process they were able to develop mission requirements on the Conceptual Design Review.   

This Spring, the Electronics team plans to order components to further confirm their research in Fall 2018. The team will also be recruiting new student members this Spring to develop the electrical subsystems of SpaceShot-1 further.

Communications Team 

The communications team redesigned the basics of ESFT’s internal communication system. With all new members, the sub-team planned a few routes to make Eagle Space Flight Team more prominent to the public via the ESFT website and social media profiles.

Next semester, the Communications team will work to further implement new ideas and begin building a stronger public presence online. Communications will also be documenting the progress of other sub-teams in pictures to share with the team’s followers online.

Aerodynamics Team

Members of the aerodynamics team began the semester by training new recruits on past code and research. The team developed a low fidelity 3-degrees-of-freedom (DoF) model for quick analysis of the current design and incorporated it into a genetic algorithm. Members incorporated new propulsion elements into the code to increase flexibility of modeling, and optimized the code to reduce run-time.

During Spring semester of 2019, Aerodynamics members will be continuing to work on the team’s Conceptual Design Review for SpaceShot-1. Members will also be completely debugging a 6 DoF model to utilize throughout the semester, and will also be modeling conceptual design performance of SpaceShot-1. Members will also be researching hypersonic modeling to better improve simulations.