Update 2/26/17 – Putting things together


Ground ops was hard at work this weekend doing some replacements on the Mk-1 test stand and organizing parts for the Mk-2 test stand. With the momentum gained this weekend, we hope to get most of the plumbing for the Mk-2 stand done over the course of the week.

Mk-2 guts.jpg

Test stand guts waiting to be assembled

We’re currently working towards doing a firing of our engine as a tutorial for new members, planned for the week after spring break, so stay tuned!

Subteam Spotlight: Avionics

We’re back from winter and are a month into our Spring semester now! As we left off last time with our plan to make a consolidated sensors platform, we have come back this semester and have finished a prototype of all our sensors on the board as shown in figure1. The circuit includes 3 thermocouple, 1 pressure sensor, 2 position sensors, 1 accelerometer and 1 load cell. Alex Brenner from our subteam also designed a circuit board for this setup to be a board that would stack above an Arduino Mega. This is something that we will be using as a display piece for a CSE Expo where we will be showing high schoolers how computers for rocket engines are designed.


Figure 1. Sensors Prototype

Also, as far as automating our test stand, we have successfully been able to implement relays driven by microcontroller controlled Power MOSFETS to control the valves. The controller is shown in figure 2 and the relay setup is shown in figure 3. The controller setup was designed such that when a given position is set by the dials, the valves would be opened to the set angle. This will help us throttle the engine at a future date.


Figure 2. Controller Setup for Automation


Figure 3. Relay Setup

Nick Knudsen, who’s working on automation is currently designing a printed circuit board to make this setup more robust and durable so it is test compatible. We hope to test this setup in one of our future tests, the nearest planned test date being in late March. Check back in later to see our progress on the circuit boards and how we would have built a consolidated setup.

Member Spotlight: Dexter Groath

My name is Dexter Groath. I am a Junior of Aerospace Engineering  and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota. I have always been fascinated with rocketry and overcoming all the obstacles to get to space, the final frontier. LPRD Rocketry allows me to build, design, and launch rockets.  Working with he Flight Team lets me know details and nuances that are often not thought of and gives knowledge that can’t be taught in a classroom.

I am an upcoming intern for Orbital ATK and look forward to a future in aerospace and launching lockets.

Dexter Groath.JPG

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2/19/17 – Students become Teachers

This week, LPRD gave a presentation about liquid rocket engines to our local Tripoli charter, a hobby rocketry group which helps us launch our solid fuel rockets (and hopefully one day our liquids). The presentation went very well, with a lot of people excited to learn about how liquid engines work. There is a video of the presentation here. If you’re interested in learning about the technical details of our engine and testing procedures all in one sitting, I highly encourage you to check it out!

This week for our spotlights, we have Ground Ops reporting on their valve characterization test from last week, and Engine Team with a Member spotlight from Jonathan, our new Engine Subteam lead this semseter.

Subteam Spotlight: Ground Ops

Ground Ops is currently in learning mode. One of our projects that we are currently working on is the building of the mount for the MK2 engine. The mount not only needs to be built specifically for the MK2 engine, but also for compatibility with the MK2 test stand. This leads me to another project, which is to create a piping system for the MK2 test stand. We have all the materials we need and with some time and research, we hope to have the setup for the MK2 test stand be done by the end of the semester. Along with setting up the MK2 test stand, we are also continuing to run tests on the MK1 test stand to increase familiarity and confidence to prep our team, Ground Ops, for future engine firing. In the meantime, solidifying Ground Ops a team is the ultimate goal and more updates are to come!


Member Spotlight: Johnathan Liberman

I’m Jonathan Liberman, lead for the Engine Subteam, and a second year student in Aerospace Engineering.  LPRD has given me an excellent chance to delve further into rocketry than I have before.  The opportunities to work on liquid fuel engines is a unique one that has provided lots of practical experience and learning.  After I graduate, I would like to continue this and work on rocket engines for actual launch platforms.  My ideal job would be working at SpaceX or Aerojet Rocketdyne developing new engines for the next generation of launch vehicles.

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Update 2/12/17 – Under Pressure


This week, Jame did his first test as Ground Ops director with the goal of finding the pressure drops across the valves on the test stand, in preparation for a future test. Next week we’ll get a full review of the test, but for now here’s a cool video!

Now let’s get on to the Subteam Spotlight from Flight Team, and Member Spotlight from avionics member Nick Knudsen

Subteam Spotlight: Flight

Flight team has been quite buy, especially since our catastrophic failure from the end of last semester. We are currently working on building our roll control avionics bay, which is designed to stabilize the spin of our rocket in-flight. The expected launch date is near the end of March, so expect a cool update on that!

Other than that, we are also working on redesigning our Cerberus I Rocket to re-launch as the Cerberus II. Since our main issue has been lighting two motors at once for this rocket, we are designing an on-board ignition system, triggered by an acceleration for backup.


We hope to be launching this design in April or May. More updates to come on these, so stay tuned!

Member Spotlight: Nick Knudsen

My name is Nick Knudsen and I am a Freshman majoring in Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota. I joined LPRD Rocketry because I have been fascinated by rocketry for as long as I can remember. I also wanted to gain some experience building and implementing electrical and software systems. Outside of LPRD I enjoy skiing, playing guitar, reading, and listening to music. In the future, I hope to pursue a career working in the aerospace industry designing and building electrical and avionics systems for aircraft and spacecraft.



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Update 2/5/17 – Spring is Here


The new year is back in full swing, and LPRD is gearing up for an eventful spring semester. We have tests to do, rockets to build, engines to design, and much more!

This week, we have the Subteam Spotlight from the Engine subteam, and a member spotlight from our new Ground Ops director, Jame!

Subteam Spotlight: Engine

Engine team has started off this semester strong.  We have several projects lined up for this semester, and we have made good progress on many of them.  Our nitrous engine is nearly ready for testing, and we hope to fire it at Orbital ATK as soon as possible.  Calculations for film cooling, which is critical for running the flight engine, are almost done, and we hope to prepare a test bed for the system in the coming weeks.  Pending completion of the Mk 2 test stand, progress is on track as well to have the first Mk 2 firing before the end of the semester.  We have busy semester ahead of us, and we look forward to seeing the progress we make!

Member Spotlight: Jame Moua

My name is Jame Moua and I am a junior at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities double majoring in Aerospace Engineering & Mathematics and a minor in Astrophysics. I have been with LPRD Rocketry for a little under a year now. My current role in LPRD Rocketry is that I am the new sub-team lead for Ground Ops. What my current visions for Ground Ops are to familiarize myself with leading tests on the MK1 test stand, the tests being pressurization test and flow rate test, and to setup the MK2 test stand for testing on the newly made MK2 engine. Away from LPRD, I like to talk to friends and family, and participate in events. In addition, some of my favorite hobbies are to game, play sports, get fit, and eat food. For my hopes and dream, I hope to be accepted into the aerospace industry and ultimately become an american astronaut.


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