Missouri S&T team to launch rocket at collegiate competition

The design team’s rocket. Photo from the team’s Facebook page.

A group of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will launch a rocket 10,000 feet into the air over Las Cruces, New Mexico, later this month as a part of the inaugural Spaceport America Cup.

The collegiate rocket competition, held June 20 through 24, challenges teams of college students to design, build and launch solid-, liquid- and hybrid-fuel rockets to targeted altitudes.

Missouri S&T’s Rocket Design Team has two missions for the competition. The first goal is to reach the target altitude of 10,000 feet and then recover the rocket by deploying high-drag pull-down apex parachutes. The second goal is to test equipment for the team’s future rockets. An avionic system will measure the rocket’s acceleration, spin, outside air pressure and parachute deployment time, and will wirelessly transmit that data to a telemetry system, which then reaches team members on the ground. If the data transfer is reliable, the team can build much larger rockets in future competitions without worrying about interior wiring.

The Missouri S&T rocket is called “Hades.” It is 96 inches tall and 4.6 inches wide, and features an all-composite airframe that can reach up to 800 miles-per-hour within 3 seconds of its launch. Its motor weighs 15 pounds with fuel and produces 1,000 pounds of thrust at its peak operating pressure. The team mixes its own fuel for the rocket at Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine, where they also test the rocket.

“The unique part of our motor is that it uses a 3D-printed nozzle,” says rocket team secretary Matthew Fogle, a senior in aerospace engineering from St. Louis. “The nozzle is where we take the combustion pressure and use it to generate thrust, and 3D-printed nozzles are still a new area in aerospace.”

For more information about the team and to see videos and photos of the rocket, visit facebook.com/rocketdesignteam.

The Rocket Design Team is one of 18 student-run teams in Missouri S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides teams with computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Almost every team competes annually at an event against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world. For more information about the teams, visit design.mst.edu.

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