Full Scale Launch: Try 1

This past week the CRW has been hard at work finishing putting our first full scale rocket together. The team experienced some technical issues while using the 3D printer, which resulted in a printer shut down and the need to locate another printer to use. Thankfully, the printer issue was resolved and the team also located a back-up printer incase another issue were to happen.

The team really pulled together this week and finished assembling their first rocket. Sunday morning came with an early rise to make sure that all parts of the rocket made it to the field. The team then traveled down to Childersburg, Alabama for the launch. While the sky was a bit overcast and cloudy, the team was hopeful for a break in the sky to get to launch. With the rocket assembled and the team picture taken, one of the range officers approached the team and brought some unsettling news. The cloud coverage wasn’t going to break.

Disappointed and concerned looks were exchanged between teammates. The team was really looking forward to launching the maiden flight of their full scale rocket. Despite trying to find a way to lower the altitude of the flight, the call was eventually made to not try and adjust the motor just for the sake of flying. The option was presented to launch next weekend in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

With heavy hearts, the team started to disassemble the rocket. Teammates shared their immediate thoughts to boost morale. Teammate Andrew said that “I mean, it was a good dry run to show that we can do everything. Next time should go smoother.” Teammate Davis said “We assembled the rocket very efficiently and definitely ironed out the kinks in our SOP. Personally, I’m extremely impressed with how smoothly our assembly went despite the snags with the fin can and shear pin hole alignment.”

Figuring that the launch would fill the whole day, most members decided to use the extra time to grab a bite to eat before heading back. Many team members wanted to stop at an Alabama favorite, Milo’s Hamburgers. Milo’s is mostly known for its hamburgers and its sweet tea. Teammate Justin wishes that there was one closer to Huntsville because he really enjoys it.

After getting home and letting team members get some sleep and work on homework, teammate and Project Manager Nathanial said that “The team really came together to get this rocket built. Multiple team members took on responsibilities exceeding their expected deliverables. The planning process was much improved from the subscale build, and challenges were taken in stride. I feel like this was the most fun the team had had in a while.”





#TeammateTuesday: Amanda S.

20180213_155956[1]Amanda got hooked on engineering early (6th grade!) through the Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association in her hometown of Columbia, MO. In CASA, Amanda learned how NASA operates while building her problem solving skills. She continued in CASA through her senior year of high school, when she was the Station Commander for the ISS. Amanda is interested in rocketry in order to push humans further than we have explored before. She would like to work for NASA and eventually be selected as an astronaut herself. She named her first dog Mercury after the first US manned spaced program. She has also visited the Space Shuttles Patherfinder, Enterprise, and Independence and has a goal to eventually see all of them.

Full Scale Rocket Machining

Earlier this week, the CRW team watched the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy and is using that launch as motivation to have a successful rocket launch on February 17. The CRW team has had a busy past couple of days as we’ve started to manufacture our full-scale rocket. We sent some parts to be 3-D printed, and we also machined all of our bulkheads using the on-campus machine shop. We have also received all of our COTS parts. This weekend we are spending some quality time in our workshop cutting the body tubes, making the fin slots, and drilling holes. Here is a video of some of our parts being machined.




#TeammateTuesday: Walter P.


Walter was inspired to study aerospace engineering through his love of flying and space and by the guidance of his high school AP Physics teacher. After traveling to Huntsville from Gardendale, Walter continued his interest in rocketry and ultimately chose Charger Rocket Works for his senior design. He hopes to leverage this experience to find a job working with rockets or propulsion systems in the Huntsville area. In the meantime, he enjoys skateboardig (a hobby of 10 years), hiking, video games, and learning French.


FIRST Lego League Alabama State Championship

On January 20, members from the CRW team went to Hampton Cove Middle school in Huntsville, Alabama to present a workshop to the students on sensors and radios. This workshop was chosen because the students are currently using EV3 programming and sensors for their own robots. The CRW team wanted to show the students that what they are doing now could actually be used in the real world.

The CRW team pre-programmed 2 Raspberry Pis with corresponding sensors or buttons for the students to use. The students were able to observe the code and how it worked, while they controlled the sensors. The different components that the students were able to use were a buzzer, flashing LEDs, light sensor, and a rotary angle sensor (potentiometer). Through this, the students were able to learn the basics of programming behind each component and how it might be used in the real world. The students loved the light sensor and trying to get it to read 0 – meaning no light was able to be detected, as well as the things that made noise.

In addition to experimenting with the Raspberry Pi components, the students were also able to experiment with Xbee radios. There were 2 radios linked to each other via the computer and placed on opposite ends of the room. The students were able to use the computer and the radios to send messages to each other. They learned about how their messages were being sent in hexidecimal code and other uses for the Xbee radios; such as being used as a GPS system – like the team uses on the rocket. The team also talked about how NASA uses radios to talk to their rovers and how it takes longer because the rovers are much further away. This was a big hit with the students because their messages were being sent in real-time, so when they tried to talk at the same time it became gibberish – which they got a kick out of.

The mentors/educators of the students were able to talk to members of the CRW team about how the team is using similar components on our rocket. The mentors also were able to learn about what CRW is and what we do and how what the students are doing now for their robots can be translated to the real world.

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