Conclusion to my rocket project (56k NO way)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by JustinL, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. JustinL

    JustinL Junior Member

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    I figured now would be a good time to update you all on my adventures back in April for and conclude my other project thread. All of these pictures were taken in Huntsville Alabama in April between the 15th and 19th.

    We drove up in an Econoline van towing our "rocket trailer" (seen below), you can imagine the looks we got on the interstate...
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    First on the list was a rocket fair. I'll only throw up a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the field of teams there. There was a total of 19 Universities and another 15-20 high schools.

    Georgia Tech (vortex shedding measurements)
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    Vandenberg (Aerial deployed UAV)
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    Missouri
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    Ohio State (guidance system to hit a desired altitude)
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    Florida Tech (My team, Low Gravity Fuel Slosh)
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    Next, we got a free pass to the MSFC visitors center.
    Vertical Saturn V
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    First stage of the Saturn V.
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    Since this was a group of rocket nerds, we spent 45 minutes looking over this F1 engine from a Saturn V and figuring out how it works.

    Injector plate
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    Cooling tubes
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    The F1 engine with the lower bell removed.
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    Stats on the F1.
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    Side of engine with fuel manifold. The fuel flows in at the top right, down the large tube that wraps around the edge of the bell, back up the cooling tubes and into the injectors.
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    Other side.
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    I believe this is a J2 engine injector.
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    Same engine with some of the nozzle removed so you can see the cooling channels.
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    They were nice enough to cut open the tubes so we could get a good look at the fuel pump and turbine.
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    Second stage of the Saturn V.
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    Some stats on the Ares V.
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    Yea, the Ares V is a little larger than the Saturn 5 on the right....!
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    A mock up of the new Orion Crew Module.
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    Outside of the OCM.
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    I don't recall exactly what this was for, but it is for some testing on the skin of a rocket and was covered with tons of strain gauges.
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    A model of the Saturn V they used for doing wind tunnel testing, look carefully as the holes all over it, there were hundreds of tubes coming out of this for all sorts of measurements.
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    A bunch of decommissioned missiles from the US.
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    What missile collection be with out an old buzz bomb??
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    The rocket on the Left is a Saturn IB, the right most that says USA is a Mercury/Redstone
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    A bunch of orbital maneuvering thrusters
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    A turbo pump for some type of engine. This is only 1/2 of the pump, there would be a "compressor side" for the fuel.
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    An old gyroscope.
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    This is a cut away of a space shuttle SRB,
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    and a close up of the seal on the nozzle for gimballing.
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  2. JustinL

    JustinL Junior Member

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    The next day we had a "Behind the Scenes" tour of MSFC. Here was the first part of our tour.

    Here is the thrust stand they used for the Saturn IB and Space Shuttle.
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    The flame deflector and trench
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    Here is a Saturn IB first stage laying on its side, I don't know if it was ever used though.
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    the SSME attachment
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    Now, more time was spent drooling over some engines.
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    We are not sure what this is or if we were even supposed to see it, but I believe it is some kind or part of a telescope.
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    In side of another building, we saw this sign. At one point this was a nuclear attack proof building I believe.
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    a bunch of miscellaneous parts laying around.
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    They were getting ready to do a test fire later in the day, this stand does anywhere from 300 to 600 test fires in a year!
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    I believe this is the test stand they are gearing up for to test the Ares V!!
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    Here is a picture to give you an idea of the size of this structure.
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    Water cooling and sound suppression. they are currently refurbishing this to prepare for the Ares V.
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    Next up was a trip to the ISS mission control. This is a mockup of one of the modules on the ISS so engineers in mission control can come and get a better idea of what is going on up there.
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    Here it is, the US ISS Mission control room. Unfortunately this picture is blurry, but the right most screen shows a live feed and was then displaying Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata.
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    Now, my favorite part of the trip, the propulsion tour. This picture shows a vacuum chamber. It is used for testing plasma thrusters in space.
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    Worlds largest condom or an experimental "solar kite", you decide.
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    Here is a NERVA engine. These are making a comeback for the trip to mars. They generate hot gas by spraying a liquid onto a nuclear reactor. Instead of trying to explain it, I'll just post up a link.
    NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application)
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    Yes, we stuck our heads in the nuclear engine ;P
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    If any of you can remember the X-33, this was the test engine they developed for it. I believe this is the only one that has even been fired at this scale. It is based on a J2 from a Saturn V.
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    Here it is test firing.
    http://mix.msfc.nasa.gov/IMAGES/HIGH/0103149.jpg

    And a quick video.
    http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/NEWSROOM/news/video/2001/2001movies/Aerospike_160X120.mov


    This is a big mock up of one of the interstages for one of the Ares vehicle. Its just to get everything lined up so it is very easy to work on (as opposed to the shuttle).
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    Here is one of the four separation motors on the top of a Space Shuttle SRB.
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    This is actually a test chamber for simulating NERVA engines. The neatest part of this is that the professor who wants me to work for him in Grad school actually helped design this!
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    Here is another layout of the interstage between the SRB and the liquid motor on the upper stage of the Ares I.
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    Last but not least, the final stop was friction-stir welding and urine treatment.

    Here is an exact replica of one of the modules on the ISS. If you ever saw one of those "mega mover" shows where they moved something from KSC to MSFC on a big guppy, this is that module.
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    Also, if you heard in the news lately about the ISS astronauts drinking processed urine for the first time, the guy leading us on this tour developed the machine that does it.
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    Here is the friction stir welding that they were super proud of. I encourage you to take the time to read up on this process, it really is neat!
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  3. JustinL

    JustinL Junior Member

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    Finally, we had our launch. Unfortunately there was some bad weather coming through on Sunday, so they moved up the high school launches, so we had to get ~40 launches off in one day.

    Here is our payload. It was a task to get it up and running, plus our triggering system went out the rocket, attached to the tower, and ran down to the ignition box.
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    This was the whole section I was pretty much in charge of. I layed out the entire rocket, designed the booster and avionics, and did a huge part of the construction.
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    Here is me installing the shear pins that hold the payload and nose cone on. I've got my good luck straw hat and our advisor has his pith.
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    Keeping with tradition, our signed booster.
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    Here you can see the trigger wires at the nose cone along with a shot down the whole rocket.
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    We were almost erected at this point. The orange flag is connected to shunts that prevent the ejection charges from going off. Unfortunately, at this point our payload triggered and we had to reset. There was not enough time, so we had to wait until the next round of launches.
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    Our aptly named FVAA (Flight Verification Aquatic Aviaries).
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    Once more for scale.
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    Neat picture....
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    At this point, we played the waiting game for ~60 minutes while we waited for the other teams to prepare. Finally, they were ready and it was our turn to launch. Due to our payload and its complexity, we had a built in hold. At 5 seconds until launch, we were to hold and trigger the payload. Once the payload notified us by an audible siren, we resumed the countdown. The launch director got on the loud speakers and had the entire field go silent so we could hear it.... talk about pressure as I was the one who had the final say in the rocket launching or not. Here is the launch sequence:

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    Now, for the conclusion. Our video storage board died on the flight, so we did not recover any video. We were not worried about it too much, we already had people lined up at Harris and our school who were able to recover any type of data as long as the storage chip itself was intact. That night, we headed to the awards banquet. Oh yea, for those of you who have seen the move "October Sky", Homer Hickham was at the field the whole time we were there.

    On to the awards banquet that night. Every team received a participation award. The guy handing the awards out was actually a three time pilot and two time commander of a space shuttle mission. Awards were given out for "Best looking, Best Airframe, Best Payload, Closest to a Mile, and maybe one or two others". Luckily, our team received the "Best Payload" award, beating out the powerhouse Utah State and their altitude correcting payload. Fast forward another month to when they announce the placement, we managed to get a 3rd place overall! First place went to last years team and their payload that slows the rocket down to hit exactly one mile (Utah State), and the team who hosts the event every year (University of Alabama, Huntsville) and their custom wound carbon fiber airframe. We also won the award for best rookie team, beating over half of the other universities I believe.

    So there you have it, it only took me a fractured pelvis to take the time to put together this thread even though I am guessing you just skimmed and looked at the pictures ;P
  4. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

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    Awesome thread Justin!!! Thanks for taking the time to share those spectacular experiences with us!!!
  5. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

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  6. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

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    How hot does that nuclear core get in order to turn gas to a plasma? that would rock, working on nuclear engines.
  7. Alex B

    Alex B Junior Member

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    Man that looks like a lot of fun. I would go on all of those tours and geek out just as hard as you guys do. Not for the rockets or how they work, but for the extremely impressive metal fabrication that goes in to every engine and part.
  8. hans5849

    hans5849 Serious as a heart attack

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    Can it drop a bomb on Canada or Mexico?
  9. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    fascinating pictures, thanks for the tour. you guys got the VIP tour! lol
    gyros have definately come a long way... to this
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    is dumped water still being used for sound suppression?
    machined aluminum and chromoly turn me on.
    we get alot of that heavy nasa machinery through work and its quite spectacular to analyze and find out what the fuck it is!

    so what exactly is all of this going to land you career wise?
  10. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

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    Awesome. Looks like alot of fun and hard work. Congrats on the wins.


    Cock-rings FTW. :p
  11. Lord Kain

    Lord Kain Keeper of the Timeline Staff Member

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    Corrected