briefs ... David
Livingston on the Space
Show interviewed John
Garvey of Garvey SpaceCraft last Tuesday. The program is now
available for downloading from the archive...
Bill Colburn tells me about his book, A
Manual for Hybrid Propulsion System Design by William H. Colburn,
which includes info on hybrid propulsion from the "GIRD vehicle
in the 1930's to the SpaceShip One".
Prospector 5 XL flight photos.. John
Garvey sent me these additional photos of the Prospector 5 XL
launch on Dec. 4, 2004 by the Cal
State Long Beach/Garvey Spacecraft group.
13: There is now a page posted at Garvey
Spacecraft - News on the flight.]
5 XL Launch
4 photos courtesy of
also reports that an "initial inspection of the vehicle in
the lab yesterday evening further confirmed that the hardware is
still usable for future flight testing. We've narrowed down the
candidate test options that we are considering and will settle on
one after final exams and the holidays."
5 XL flight photos.. John
Garvey sent me the following photos of the Prospector 5 XL launch
on Dec. 4, 2004 by the Cal
State Long Beach/Garvey Spacecraft group. The launch took place
at the Mojave test site owned and operated by the Reaction
vehicle is also referred to as the NLV
(Nanosat Launch Vehicle) first stage or Flight Development Unit
John says they
will update "the associated web sites in the next week or so
after receiving all the photo and video inputs."
Here was the
pre-launch announcement: CALVEIN
Team Targets Flight of NLV Flight Development Unit No. 1 (P-5XL)
for Dec. 4-5 Weekend - CSULB - Nov.23.04.
booster recovered... Last
May the CSXT/GoFast
project successfully launched an amateur rocket to space
for the first time. The nose cone and avionics were recovered at
the time but the booster was considered lost. Now comes news from
tracking and recovery team team that the booster has been found
and brought home: Mystery
Solved: Stratofox Recovers CSXT Booster - Nov.2004
brief ... The
Spacecraft collaboraton continues to develop new technologies.
Check out the latest
photos of the recent LOX-propylene engine test and the full
scale mock-up of the Flight Development Unit - 1 (FDU-1) of the
NLV (Nanosat Launch Vehicle) first stage.
student sounding rockets ... The
(Suborbital Amateur Rocket) student rocket project at the Florida
Institute of Technology plans to send a two-stage solid motor powered
rocket to 122km (76miles). The ICARUS
project of the Embry-Riddle
Future Space Explorers' and Developers' Society plans also to
attempt to reach the same altitude.
looks like both teams will need to go to Wallops Island in Virginia
to launch their vehicles: Students'
space race may launch from Va.: State space authority holds key
to Fla. site - Florida Today - Nov.13.04.
"pick up associated launch costs, paying for range safety analyses,
ground operations and radar tracking, among other things."
The state of Florida has so far balked at paying for these costs
if they launch from Cape Canaveral.
Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society has revamped their web
site in a Wiki interactive style ...
The group also announced progress with their GizmoCopter project
More gizmo flights (sort of) - David Masten * WhatsNew
- ERPS. They want to use the vehicle to develop VTVL (Vertical
takeoff, vertical landing) control techniques that can be applied
to VTVL rocket vehicles.
news... Here is the news letter for October.
2004 Update for the rocket fuel pump and
SDSU student rocket project.
The paper was well received at the AIAA space conference. One
Air force scientist said, "Best new idea I've seen for awhile".
Also, we had the pump on display in Education alley and at the
Space Frontier Foundation, and I gave a talk there as well. This
attracted a few potential customers which we are talking with
We had hoped
to set up the clear demo model to pump Margaritas, but we were
not able to due to scheduling, i.e. the area where the pump was
on display closed down before receptions at both AIAA and SFF.
and hardware has reduced the pressure pulses down to the level
where electrical noise is a problem(<3%). New higher output pressure
sensors have been installed. The lining of the steel tank is flaking
off due to a cryo test, so we need to get a new stainless tank
to continue testing with. The flaky lining gets into the check
valves, causing them to leak, but the pump still works fine, although
it cycles with no output flow. (I am spinning this as an example
of robust design, imagine a piston pump or a high pressure centrifugal
that can pass large debris without damage.)
As far as the SDSU rocket launch is concerned, there was a detonation
in the chamber so it never left the rail. The rocket is not seriously
damaged, except for the engine. The students are trying to get
an Atlas Vernier engine from the San Diego Aerospace Museum. (Anyone
else want to donate one?)
The seniors who are working on this program will have some excellent
rocket systems experience when the graduate. Any new hires out
of school will generally require a year or so to start contributing
to the bottom line. If you hire one of these students, or one
from the Cal State Long Beach rocket program, that time will be
shrunk by half, saving a considerable amount of overhead. Any
aerospace companies that want to donate to the program, contact:
Director of Fundraising
Carl's description of the event:
For all of our launch attempts and static tests to date we have
used pyrotechnic igniters/lances to light the LR101 motor. These
igniters resemble miniature road flares and are about the size
of a cigarette. When lit with an electric match they end burn
and emit approximately a 3/4" flame for about 30 seconds. Two
are used for redundancy. They are attached to a rod and inserted
through the nozzle so that the flame is directed towards the center
of the injector plate. We ignite them at T-minus 5 seconds and
look for a puff of smoke leaving the nozzle to verify a good light
A few hours earlier we had inadvertently burped some kerosene
through the motor and thoroughly soaked the igniters. Fearing
that kerosene could wick back through the LOX holes in the injector
we removed the motor and thoroughly cleaned it. When reinstalling
the cleaned motor we had a brief debate on whether to use the
igniters and rationalized that they would still light just fine.
frame by frame video analysis an unusual occurrence can be seen
at ignition. During the 400 msec prior to the kerosene entering
the combustion chamber, a bright flame can be seen in the nozzle
opening. At t=0 when the initial LOX/GOX entered the combustion
chamber (CC) it likely accelerated the combustion of the igniters
which were soaked with kerosene. We assume this melted the duct
tape which secured them to the rod allowing them to slide down
into the motor throat. When the kerosene slug finally entered
the CC about t=400 msec there was too much unburned fuel and LOX
in the chamber. This probably caused the hard start.
We had a good conversation with a Rocketdyne engineer who knows
the LR101 in detail. The LR101 was designed to be ignited using
a hypergolic ignition. He thought that a pyro-igniter could work,
but cited a few weaknesses with our current approach. First, he
said that ignition should take place as close to the injector
face as possible and furthermore cover as much of the injector
face as possible. He suggested we have the igniter flames emit
radial along the injector face (daisy pattern). This insures that
the chamber walls can not be wetted by kerosene (the LR101 has
kerosene film cooling near the chamber walls). Our two pyro lances
were mostly directing their flame energy at the center of the
injector, an area which is contain extra LOX injectors.
In the future we will use side firing igniters. Here are some
photos and videos of what happened:
Movie of chamber detonation and fire:
Photo of chamber with internal crack, indicating a detonation
in the chamber:
Movie of recovery system going off as altimeter melts
Plots of Data from Paul Breed's telemetry system:
Paul's system used a 1/4 waves dipole buried in the trailing edge
of one fin. This gave us good data at the blockhouse. For better
reliability,we will use 4 half wave dipoles in each of the 4 fins.
Also, be sure to check out the rocket fuel pump website www.rocketfuelpump.com
Steve Harrington Ph. D
President, Flometrics, Inc.
Adjunct Professor, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, SDSU
static fire test
engine test... The
State Long Beach/Garvey Spacecraft group carried out a static
firing test of their LOX/propyline engine last Saturday October
23th at the Mojave test site owned and operated by the Reaction
Research Society. John Garvey sent some pictures from a video
taken by Eric Besnard. John reported:
on-site assessment was that modifications to the test rack and
to the propellant tank pressurization sequence at ignition resulted
in a much smoother start-up than in the previous two tests. However,
the LOX ran out sooner than anticipated, which lead to a much
shorter burn duration and a decent propylene-rich fireball in
the flame trench afterwards. Post-test inspection found only minor
damage to the test rack and engine.
We plan to
conduct a more complete inspection of the test rack and the engine
at the next work party later this week and hopefully will have
the telemetry data processed by then as well. We will also decide
on our next test objective.
include another LOX/propylene static fire test or a launch attempt
with the “Flight Development Unit” that is a low-fidelity version
of the first stage of the NLV
(image [above shows] the full-scale mockup of the FDU alongside
the Prospector 3 [on the right]).
See more of
mockup images at the Garvey Spacecraft site.
21 , 2004
State Long Beach/Garvey Spacecraft group plans a static
fire test of a LOX/Propylene Engine on Oct. 23, 2004.
strap-on motor launch...
Ben Jarvis and Richard
Osborne of the British MARS
rocketry group reported on the ARocket forum about their firing
of a small vehicle with parallel staging of 4" amateur rockets.
See the pictures
of the Phobos 5 launch on Osborne's UKRocketMan
website. There is also video from an onboard camera that shows the
boosters falling away.
Here is an excerpt
from his report on the launch that took place at the UK 'K-lob'
event last weekend:
design uses two interlocking aluminium rings that slide over the
outside of the core stage tube, one of which is fixed, and one
of which is free to rotate within set confines and is spring loaded.
For launch it is locked in place with a hollow pin which is filled
with BP and an igniter. The strap-ons have lugs that are held
in place by the locked rings. When the igniter is fired, the pin
ejects itself, the ring slams round under spring loading and aligns
four openings with the four lugs allowing the booster lugs to
'fall' out of the rings. Thrust loading is taken through a second
set of lugs at the base of each booster which locate with steel
pins into a plate on the base of the core stage, no loading is
taken through the release mechanism itself.
tolerance and manufacture issues would probably make this exact
system somewhat impractical above about 8" diameter core airframes....
but for small vehicles it seems a fairly elegant system.
was tested on a custom vehicle this weekend. The test used a 4"
core stage about 9ft tall, with two (we felt we'd try two before
going for the full four) 4" diameter, 4ft long strap on boosters.
The vehicle was almost entirely aluminium though used commercial
solid propellants for this flight (thank you Anthony C for that
great BP igniter pellet which REALLY helps in clustering :-)
The vehicle used two 250NS solids in the boosters (just to test
them under some thrust loading) and a 1200Ns solid in the core
stage, predicted apogee was intentionally very low at about 1500ft.
The core stage carried two commercial altimeter/accelerometers
and a 460 line high-resolution colour 'bullet-cam' video camera
and transmitter, looking down the length of the vehicle to observe
separation from on-board. A simple digital timer was used to actuate
the separation mechanism at T+2 seconds, 0.1 seconds after burn-out
of the strap-ons.
The flight was 'largely' nominal and (IMHO) really rather impressive
:-) All three motors lit instantly, the vehicle lifted off and
rolled gently as it climbed. The mechanism fired at T+2 as planned
(the pin can be seen ejecting from the on-board camera) and both
boosters peeled away gracefully the moment the mechanism opened.
Both boosters deployed parachutes and were recovered, the core
stage continued under thrust for two further seconds, then coasted
to an apogee of around 1400ft and, despite a partial failure of
the recovery system (main parachute not fully ejecting) the core
stage was recovered with little damage. As anyone who has seen
the Delta on-board footage will know... footage from onboard a
rocket showing boosters peeling away is always VERY impressive.
will use four boosters, more powerful motors, lift-off with boosters
only and then "air-lighting the core stage after booster separation".
briefs... Stephen Holden informs me of the Australian
Experimental web site, which has been updated recently with
info on the group's projects....
Harrington of Flometrics
reports that the San Diego State student
group will launch the Phoenix 2 rocket on October 23rd.
Check out the new discussion forum dedicated to hybrid rockets:
Forum - Hybrid Rockets
12 , 2004
Bill Colburn of SORAC
sends a report
on a "hobby first, a complete bi-prop propulsion system on
a model aircraft." Their news pages says that the "engine
can be started, stopped and throttled with the standard R/C system."
The propulsion system was built by Terry McElheran and Bill.
briefs... Miscellaneous web sites of interest:
West Palm launches The Big Kahuna, Spirit of Columbia built
by local high school students: 'Chute
fails at 8,000 feet, foiling kids' space project: The payload from
a 24-foot rocket that Pembroke Pines students helped build crashes
in a field after takeoff, but students and their teacher remain
optimistic. - Herald.com - Aug.29.04
/SDSU update from Steve Harrington:
2004 Update for rocket fuel pump
and SDSU student rocket project.
Be sure to
check out the rocket
fuel pump website. It has been updated with more papers and
I will be
talking about our rocket adventures and the pump in at a JPL
sponsored workshop in Pasadena,California on September 3.
We will have a booth with the SDSU rocket project (www.sdsurocket.org)
at the Space
There will be a working model of the pump in the booth and I will
be giving a paper
on the pump at the conference on Sep 28.
The paper shows that for a booster which uses the pump, the performance
in terms of payload to a given deltaV is as good or better than
In the meantime we are building a new pump model that is optimized
for pumping LOX at 30+ gpm and 600 psi.
Also, the students completed a static fire test of their rocket
on June 24th. A launch is planned for October, contact me for
details if you want to see it.
Student rocket Static Test photos, movies and data:
The top view
video is not very good, the camera was vibrating too much.
and calculated ISP from the test
NLV mockup.... John Garvey sent the above photos (click
on them for larger versions) of the full-scale Nanoscale
Launch Vehicle (NLV) mockup built by Garvey
Spacecraft and the Cal
State Long Beach Aerospace Engineering Dept. The "effort
included integration of all major vehicle elements and rotation
of the mockup into a vertical orientation. Follow-on tasks include
continued development of key subsystems, mechanical GSE definition
and pathfinding of logistics and field-site operations."
A NLV would
launch up to 10Kg to low earth orbit. The rocket would target the
"academic and small payload users market."
The top two
photos indicate the size of the vehicle and the bottom image indicates
the size relative to the Prospector sounding rockets that the team
has launched over the past couple of years. More photos available
on the NLV
rocket launch... The Pathfinder
Rocket, designed and built by students at the University of
Cincinnati, Casper College and the Natrona County School District,
under the tutelage of John
Wickman, was launched On July 17th At NASA
Wallops Island Test Facility. Preliminary data for the flight
of the 17 foot long, 8 inch diameter, 328 pound rocket indicate
that it reached about 16k feet after "oscillation of the rocket
raised the aerodynamic drag forces dramatically."
prize status.... I got an updated link for the High
Performance Propulsion Award - a $2000 amateur rocketry prize
- sponsored by John Carmack and Christian Antkow. The winning system
- At least
2600 m/s effective exhaust velocity, calculated as totalNS / (
massInitial - massFinal )
- A mass ratio
of at least six for the propulsion system (engine, tanks, valves,
etc) calculated as massInitial / massFinal
- At least
a three second burn time and 1000 NS total impulse, although both
figures would likely be higher.
The award has
been available for more than 3 years.
test results.... John Garvey reports on the recent LOX/propylene
engine test and Prospector 2 rocket flight carried out by the Garvey
State Long Beach team : CALVEIN
Field Tests - Garvey Spacecraft Corporation - July.11.04.
Also, there are more pictures of the Nanosat
Launch Vehicle (NLV) Mockup. (CALVEIN is the California Launch
Vehicle Education Initiative.)
course.... An entire 26 lecture college level course
on rocket propulsion is currently available at AE
6450 Rocket Propulsion, Dr. Narayanan M. Komerath - Georgia Tech
- Fall 2004
regulations... Alan Boyle reports on the effects so far
of the regulations imposed on rocketry after 9/11: Rocket
ruckus revisited - Alan Boyle/Cosmic Log - July.2.04. Thankfully,
not caused the fatal disaster many feared. However, I think it's
clear that they will seriously hinder the growth of an important
educational activity that should be encouraged rather than discouraged
by the government. ...
leads a group of students in the development of a sounding rocket
that will launch from Wallops Island: Local
rocketeers prepare for Virginia launch - Casper Star Tribune - July.3.04.
Rocket will fly on July 14th. The project involves students
from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) and from Casper College
and Natrona County School District in Wyoming.
to June 2004