Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

Authors' Class Standing

Karen Maurer, Junior Andrew Valenti, Senior John Dennehy, Junior James Le, Junior Sophie Zaccarine, Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Karen Maurer

Faculty Mentor Name

Eric Perrell

Abstract

Project Hummingbird is an undergraduate research project with the goal of launching and recovering a sounding rocket using a rotor-recovery system that will safely guide the rocket to landing. It aims to demonstrate an alternative approach to current methods of booster recovery that would, like the other techniques, reduce the cost per launch, but would also require a less complex system and far less fuel. The system is designed to launch with an internally stored rotor-hub and externally folded rotor-blades. At apogee, the rocket will orient itself nose up and deploy the rotor blades. The rotor-blades will auto-rotate and slow the rocket’s descent. An onboard flight computer will control the guidance and descent of the rocket to the ground. Proving such a system involves a series of small-scale model tests to gain an understanding of rotor-blades’ ability to produce lift in unpowered flight. Project members are currently constructing a small-scale model for drop testing in order to gain an understanding of auto-rotational performance at varying speeds and pitch angles, as well as a full-scale rocket for validating all planned and emergency deployment systems. Once the small scale testing is complete and the full-scale rocket has been proven out, conditions for the full-scale autorotation will be selected and full scale tests will be performed. Upon successful landing using autorotation, guidance systems will be developed. The project aims to perform a demonstration flight at the 2019 Spaceport America Cup.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Ignite Grant

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Project Hummingbird: Recovery of a Rocket Using Autorotation

Project Hummingbird is an undergraduate research project with the goal of launching and recovering a sounding rocket using a rotor-recovery system that will safely guide the rocket to landing. It aims to demonstrate an alternative approach to current methods of booster recovery that would, like the other techniques, reduce the cost per launch, but would also require a less complex system and far less fuel. The system is designed to launch with an internally stored rotor-hub and externally folded rotor-blades. At apogee, the rocket will orient itself nose up and deploy the rotor blades. The rotor-blades will auto-rotate and slow the rocket’s descent. An onboard flight computer will control the guidance and descent of the rocket to the ground. Proving such a system involves a series of small-scale model tests to gain an understanding of rotor-blades’ ability to produce lift in unpowered flight. Project members are currently constructing a small-scale model for drop testing in order to gain an understanding of auto-rotational performance at varying speeds and pitch angles, as well as a full-scale rocket for validating all planned and emergency deployment systems. Once the small scale testing is complete and the full-scale rocket has been proven out, conditions for the full-scale autorotation will be selected and full scale tests will be performed. Upon successful landing using autorotation, guidance systems will be developed. The project aims to perform a demonstration flight at the 2019 Spaceport America Cup.

 

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