Faculty Advisor

Daniel Dannelley

Document Type

Presentation without Video

Publication/Presentation Date



Launch Vehicle Design for the FAR-Mars Competition The Zenith Propulsion team took on the challenge put forth by the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR), to build and launch a rocket propelled by a liquid rocket engine. In 2018-2019, a capstone team called Tiber Designs successfully designed and tested a 1,000 lbf-thrust rocket engine, named Janus, that uses liquid oxygen and jet-A (aviationgrade kerosene) as propellants. Zenith Propulsion would design a vehicle – 21 ft long, 6 in diameter, 170 lbm loaded – that uses the Janus rocket engine to fly to a target altitude of 30,000 ft above ground level. The vehicle requires propellant tanks, an internal structure to support the tanks, a propellant feed system to direct fuel and oxidizer to the engine, an aeroshell with fins to passively stabilize the rocket in flight, a ground support system to control the launch sequence, and a parachute system to recover the rocket. The vehicle was designed and constructed and reached 82% completion in March 2020 when vehicle testing began. A simulated launch was to be performed with the vehicle in a captive vertical orientation in order to qualify all systems for launch. Due to the onset of COVID-19 related closures, the ability to perform the vehicle test, or to travel to the FAR launch site in California, became impossible. Current plans call for testing and launch efforts to resume in the Fall 2020 semester, with the support of additional funds from the URI.