Building a History
Designed during the 2018/19 academic year for a low altitude flight at the Bayboro Launch Facility in NC, Bluestone marked a significant milestone for Duke AERO in its design and fabrication. Up until Bluestone we had established a history of constructing small low-powered rockets, a trend which Bluestone shattered. At a length of over 9 feet and a weight close to 90 pounds, Bluestone blew through our highest expectations in altitude, speed, and stability. However, with every great advancement comes a setback and loss of avionics tracking near apogee led to an inability to recover the rocket. A drastic step up in power and performance, Bluestone marked Duke AERO’s first rocket with established goals and success criteria, and paved the way for our future projects with bigger, heavier, and more powerful vehicles.
30K COMPETITION (2019-2020)
Shooting to Score at 30,000 Feet
Designed during the 2019/20 academic year for flight at the 2020 Spaceport of America Cup, our 30k Competition Rocket is the largest, most powerful vehicle produced by Duke AERO to date. Using a minimum diameter carbon fiber body tube construction and a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solid motor, every aspect of this rocket was designed for optimal flight with an apogee of exactly 30,000 feet. Featuring a new dual deployment recovery system, not only is this rocket the most powerful vehicle to come out of Duke AERO, but it is the safest with redundancies built in for every critical system. At a length of over 10 feet, Bluestone marks a new era for Duke AERO, one defined by large and powerful rockets in which we carefully refine our abilities to reach orbit. Serving as another example of the incredible progress made in the past few years by Duke AERO, the 30k Competition Rocket is sure to score big come Summer 2021.*
*Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the launch of this vehicle was delayed until Summer 2021
THING 1 AND THING 2 (2020-2021)
In a year impacted heavily by COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place by the University, Duke AERO took a great leap forward with the development, construction, and successful launch of a two-stage rocket affectionately dubbed “Thing 1 and Thing 2”.
In a year impacted heavily by COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place by the University, Duke AERO took a great leap forward with the development, construction, and successful launch of a two-stage rocket affectionately dubbed "Thing 1 and Thing 2".
COACH 30K (2021-2022)
EXPLODING BACK TO LIFE
With all students allowed back on campus, the club once again took aim at the Spaceport America Cup 30k COTS challenge. The airframe of the rocket, dubbed “Coach 30k”, is 9.38’ long and has an ID of 4.5”. The airframe is made from 2x2 Twill 3k 7oz T-300 Carbon Fiber Fabric with the exception of the avionics bay which is made from fiberglass. The avionics bay is connected to the forward airframe and the power tube by a polycarbonate coupler; the nosecone is also connected to the forward airframe using a polycarbonate coupler. The rocket has three trapezoidal fins made from a plywood core wrapped with carbon fiber and finished with a tip-to-tip carbon fiber layup. The fins are tabbed for alignment with the internal centering rings. A dual recovery system was implemented with Peregrine 12g CO2 ejection charges for drogue and main parachute deployment. The drogue chute is a 5’ Rocketman standard parachute and the main chute is a 14’ Rocketman standard parachute. The telemetry of the rocket will be monitored by a TeleMega altimeter, a RRC3 altimeter, and a Featherweight GPS tracker; the electronics will be powered by two 3.7V LiPo and a 9V alkaline battery and the electronics will be activated using Featherweight magnetic switches. The rocket’s payload experiment will investigate the shielding effect of steel against muon penetration at altitude. The enclosure for this experimental project houses three identical muon detectors each made with a custom PCB and a “SiPM'' PCB; the enclosure also contains a MS5607 Pressure Sensor to convert pressure readings to altitude. The overall rocket design was analyzed using OpenRocket, SolidWorks FEA, and Ansys Fluent; simulation results were supplemented by ground tests of the recovery and avionics systems.