Update 11/6/2016 – Onwards and Upwards

Hi all!

Some bittersweet news to start off with: we have decided to move on from recovering video from the firing on our own event, but we have some video recorded from inside the bunker. While this means there will unfortunately be no direct video of the firings for us to share with you, the good news is we will begin putting out video taken at other times during the day.

Below is a video taken by Vadim from inside the bunker of our second successful firing.

We’ll be following up in these next couple weeks with some recorded analysis and videos from around the test stand after the tests. This will let us move forward and start focusing on the next round of tests, but for now, let’s get into the spotlights!

Subteam Spotlight: Avionics

Autonomous Control being our major goal this semester, our main push so far has been integrating major sensors that would be required to provide the necessary feedback to having a functioning control loop. This includes pressure sensors, position feedback, force, temperature and motion sensors. Position feedback involves just having a potentiometer fixed on a valve with the moving shaft of the valve rotating the knob on the potentiometer. This rotation would change the resistance of the potentiometer which would reflect in a change in voltage. Knowing that a change in voltage is linear to the angle of the valve, we would be able to determine the angle at which the valve is opened. This setup is shown in Figure 1.  

LPRD Rocketry valve modification for position feedback on control valves with potentiometers

Figure 1

Pressure gauges along the line would come under an “Ambient Conditions Monitoring System” to ensure proper working of our systems. This setup is shown in Figure 2.

LPRD Rocketry electronic pressure gauge for feedback and control

Figure 2

To measure the thrust that the Rocket engine makes, we intend to use a load cell which is essentially a wheatstone bridge with 3 fixed resistances and a variable resistance that changes with a change in weight. Using a differential amplifier, we could measure the voltage difference and a linear conversion would give the corresponding weight. We are using an HX711 amplifier for this purpose. To calibrate our sensor, we have used a few standard weights like the ones shown below.

Weights for calibrating LPRD Rocketry test stand strain gauge

Eventually, we hope to transfer our prototype into a circuit board which would not only provide a more stable setup but would also expose our members to an industrial EE design cycle something which is often ignored in a student group project. Look for more updates on our page and in case you are an electronics enthusiast please do check us back soon to see what we’ve been up to!

Member Spotlight: Anna Bialke

Anna Bialke of LRPD Rocketry's Nitrous subteam

My name is Anna Bialke, and I am a freshman intending on studying aerospace engineering. I joined LPRD Rocketry because I find space travel intriguing and wanted some hands-on practical experience. I can play flute, bassoon, tuba, and currently play baritone in the University Marching Band. During the summer, I play euphonium in Minnesota Brass Drum Corps. Learning about new celestial objects that different spacecraft have discovered is deeply fascinating, and I want to pursue a career that would allow me to contribute to this continuing discovery of the universe.

Anna bialke of LPRD Rocketry's nitrous subteam

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Update 10/30/2016 – Happy Halloween!

Hi all!

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone has awesome plans for Halloween! LPRD Rocketry has been busy too working on spooky and terrifying things like computational fluid dynamics. The nitrous subteam has been working hard on getting their designs fully defined, and CFD software is one of the tools they’re using to do so. I’ll let them tell you about it!

Subteam Spotlight: Nitrous

These past few weeks, the Nitrous Subteam has made a lot of progress.  At this point, we are nearly ready to begin machining our first Mk1 nitrous engine.  Using some of the references available to LPRD, we were able to solve for most of the parameters for our first engine.  Compared to the oxygen-based Mk1 engine, the nitrous engine burns with less kerosene and significantly more oxidizer.  Hopefully, this should increase the benefits from utilizing the higher density of nitrous oxide by maximizing the amount of propellant we can liquify.  Simulations for the nitrous oxide injectors are going through their final refinements, and current results are about what we were expecting.  This image shows the pressure against the simulation walls and the gas jet velocity.

Nitrous Team Engine Simulation Results LPRD Rocketry oxidizer injector holes

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