Eagle Aerospace Rockets, a club that has received funding from the Eagle Prize initiative for its work, will be attending the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) to be held in June near Green River, Utah. This is an international competition, with competitors from the United States, Canada, France, and Turkey. The primary goal of the competition is to send a 10 pound payload as close to 10,000 feet as possible.
The team members will present the details of their rocket at the competition and showcase their design. One of the design features demanded by the competition is an attitude based recovery system. This system will measure the degree of deviance from the vertical direction, and when this angle becomes too great, will deploy a parachute to slow the rocket’s flight. If the rocket continues to go faster than apogee, which is essentially zero velocity, the recovery system will destroy the rocket. This is to prevent rockets falling at terminal velocity in an unguided flight that could destroy property or hurt people.
Funding has not been an issue for this group, which was awarded $3,697 in the first round of Eagle Prize awards, and was then awarded an additional $2,000. The biggest issue, according to team lead Christian Phillips, has been bureaucracy. The team experienced difficulties getting parts on time due to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s process through which parts are ordered, and have missed self-imposed deadlines due to this. “We made our own fins out of a sheet of carbon fiber”, noted Phillips, and so the team had to spend a significant amount of time laying up carbon fiber, along with choosing appropriate materials.
This process took longer than expected. They also had to spend a lot of time smoothing the finish on their rocket, which was made out of a tough form of cardboard, and then fiberglassed by them. “Getting everything to work together was a lot harder than I thought it would be”, said Phillips, who had done model rocketry in high school for competitions. The project had a lot more system integration that he was expecting, but the group was able to make it come together. They will soon be ready for competition.