Will has been working on the mechanical design of the rover payload. He is studying aerospace engineering major and comes from Huntsville, Alabama. Will chose to study aerospace engineering because his grandfather worked for NASA and the Air Force and he also has a strong interest in rocketry and space exploration. He decided to take Rocket Design because of his previous experience with flying high power rockets, which is also a hobby of his. After graduation, Will will begin working at AMRDEC and will get married in December. Outside of school, Will enjoys watching Formula 1, cooking steak and barbecue, and playing video games.
Brian has been working on the payload fairing and transition section of the Rocket. He is an aerospace engineering major hailing from Overland Park, Kansas. Brian studied aerospace engineering because of his fascination with flight, which led him to Rocket Design as his senior project. He joined the team because he wanted a challenging project with a tangible result. After he graduates Brian will be working at MTSI modelling and designing missile systems. When he isn’t working on the rocket, Brian enjoys waffles and pizza without pineapples, as well as watching sci-fi movies like Guardians of the Galaxy.
While we were launching our rocket and writing our FRR, the CRW team was also working at the Science Olympiad event held by UAH. The CRW team was in charge of running and scoring the Mousetrap Vehicle for high school students, and the Battery Buggy for middle school students. The students created their vehicles for both events prior to Saturday (March 3). On Saturday morning, the students needed to impound their vehicles before the competition to ensure that their vehicles were within regulation. The CRW team went through each construction parameter with the competitors and the students were able to talk the team through the construction of the vehicle.
For the Battery Buggy event the students had to run a battery-powered car along a 12-meter track as quickly as they could and stopping as close to the finish line as able. The track ranges from 9 to 12 meters so for our event, the team chose 12-meters. The students had to adjust their power and wheel rotations accordingly. The students were talked through the scoring and penalty process for their first run, and were able to correct any details (such as positioning and alignment) they were able to, without changing vehicles or battery power. The idea was to get the score closest to zero.
The Mousetrap Vehicle event had the students run their car pushing a 16-ounce cup 3-meters in one direction, then traveling backwards 7-meters. The idea was that the students pushed the cup either on or past the 3-meter line, and then had their car travel either past or on the 7-meter line. The students had to wind their wheels and mousetraps to what they thought were enough to complete all the requirements. The students were also talked through the scoring and penalty process so they could then adjust for the second run.
As scorers for this event, the CRW team briefly discussed with the each of the teams about the necessary equations and variables that went in to calculating their power and distance requirements. It was also discussed why it was better to use a relatively frictionless surface for this event, and what would need to change for a friction surface to get close to the same results.
On March 3rd, while some team members were doing local outreach, and others were working on the FRR, the Charger Rocket Works team returned to Samson, AL to fly the competition rocket on the competition motor, the L1520. Four team members and the team’s mentor successfully flew the rocket to around 4700 feet. The rocket preparation went incredibly smoothly, but the flight an recovery were a bit more messy. Due to high wind speeds and a high stability margin, the rocket flew at a rather steep angle of about 15° causing the significantly lower than expected altitude. The rocket landed just beyond a nearby river stuck in 2 large trees roughly 3500 feet from the launch pad. After a couple hours of pulling with the help of local fliers and farmers, the team liberated the rocket from the tree, only damaging a shock cord and parachute, which will be easily repaired before the next flight. Now, having returned to UAH, the entire team is finishing up the FRR and planning for another flight test.
Four members of the Charger Rocket Works team traveled to Samson, AL on February 24th to fly with the SouthEast Alabama Rocketry Society. The team departed from Huntsville at 4:20 am and stopped on the south side of Birmingham for breakfast. Once they got to the field, the team quickly set up its launch operations and began following our launch procedures. Due to the limited number of members at the field, all hands were busy assembling and no one was able to take photos of the preparation. The rocket was placed on the launchpad around noon after the FSU team flew their rocket. The launch was beautiful, but a little higher than expected with an apogee of 6894 feet. The team was able to recover the rocket after it drifted a little over a mile away. After thanking the TRA prefects who supervised the launch, we packed up and headed back to Huntsville with a stop in Montgomery for dinner. Due to our higher than predicted altitude, we petitioned NASA for a motor change waiver and now plan to fly an Aerotech L1520 at competition. A test flight with this motor is planned for March 3rd. Stay tuned for updates as we wrap up our flight readiness review, our final outreach event, and get another test flight in.