TARC 2015: Preliminary Design

By Nick Becker · February 8, 2015

For the past two weeks the Lovett Makers Club in collaboration with Panthera Sciences has been designing their very first rocket to compete in the Team America Rocketry challenge.

The challenge is as follows:

Build a model rocket that carries one raw egg to an altitude of 800 feet, stays airborne for between 46 and 48 seconds, and safely returns the portion of the rocket carrying the egg and altimeter using a single parachute. The rest of the rocket must be safely returned using a recovery device of the team’s choice. - TARC Documentation

Preliminary Rocksim Design

The current design of the rocket consists mainly of a payload bay that is both accessible and protective of one raw egg and one PerfectFlight APRA Altimeter. At apogee, the rocket separates at the coupler located at the center of the rocket and descends as two pieces. We used Rocksim to design and simulate the rocket. Currently, the rocket is simulating roughy 10% higher than our goal of 800ft on an Aerotech F20W rocket motor. After construction, we will compare the mass estimations of Rocksim to the actual prototype and see what modifications we need to make.

Launch Pad

In an attempt to avoid the high prices of 1” rail launch pads, we built our own based off an existing design by Daniel Kirk. The pad is comprised of 1-1/4” PVC and a standard 1” rail. Rather than paying $100+ for a launch pad, we found a DIY solution that is compact and easy to assemble.

Fabrication & Construction

This week we will begin building the rocket. The centering rings and fins have already been modeled in both Autodesk Inventor and CorelDraw. Last week we tested out designs on the laser cutter and Makerbot 3D printer. Here are the results:

*Onion for scale