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Launch Vehicle and Supporting Ground System

for a Self-Pressurizing Liquid Rocket Engine

McKynzie Perry, Oakley Copeland, Rilee Kaliher, Erik Korzon, Kaitlin


Russell, and Dalton Hicks
The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Space Hardware Club
AIAA Region II Student Conference, April 4th-6th 2018, Mobile, Alabama
Introduction

• The UAH Space


Hardware Club
▪ Solid Foundations
▪ Student Manufacturing
• IREC

2
Launch Vehicle Overview

Mass: 133.92 lbm


Center of Pressure*: 124 in
Max Center of Gravity*: 114.721 in
Apogee: 30,000 ft
Projected Cost: $30,000 *Measured from nose
3
Concept of Operations (Flight)

1 Fill, Launch 4

2 Powered Ascent
3 5
5. Descend on
Drogue
Engine Cutoff, fuel venting begins
3
(altitude determined in flight)

4 Target Apogee, separation (30,000 ft)


1.5k feet
2
5 Inflated drogue, descent under drogue
6

Main deployment, descent under main


6
(1500 ft) 1
7
7 Landing (< 25 ft/s)
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Subsystem Integration: Avionics

Fore (yellow) Aft (green)


● Radio, GPS ● Valve Controllers
● Barometric Altimeter, IMU ● Engine Sensors and Processing
● Main MCU, GNC MCU ● Power
● Vent Valve Controller ● Ox tank sensors
● Power
● Fuel tank sensors

• Inter avionics comm line (orange) is placed in the oxidizer


shroud
• Transmits digital signal, shielded by carbon fiber 5
Subsystem Integration: Engine

• Thrust Plate to
Engine Cap
▪ Four ¼ 20 bolts
• Uncovered Engine
▪ Mass savings
▪ Additional cooling
Fuel

Oxidizer

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Subsystem Integration: Fluids
Nitrogen
Line Fin Brackets

Fuel Line

Ox Line
Support
Bulkhead

Shroud
Thermocouple

Thrust Plate

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Subsystem Integration: Payload

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Payload ConOps

Eject from P-Pod

Descend to
Ground

Dig a Hole and


Plant a Seed

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Subsystem Integration: Ground System

1515 Rail Buttons (1 on each tank bulkhead)

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Design Concern: Steady State Heating

● Hottest day on record for


Truth or Consequences,
NM: 43.9oC
● Steady-state, gray body
temperature of nose cone is
61.9oC
● This is less than the glass
transition temperature of
ABS plastic, so this is an
acceptable level of heating

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Design Concern: Aerothermal Heating

● 3D ANSYS Fluent simulation, using simulated flight profile data and a Spalart-Allmaras viscous
heating model with y+ ≅ 30
■ Ambient temperature assumed to be 300K
■ Multiple simulations, spanning compressible regime of rocket’s flight
● MATLAB, lumped thermal capacitance model used to determine nose cone’s approximate response
to heating effects
■ Results indicate that fiberglass sufficiently resists temporary high-temperature environment
12
Design Concern: Loading

Max: 16.8
ksi

• Thrust plate structure is supported by 8x L-shaped Al 6061-t6 columns


▪ Length = 13 in, Area Moment of Inertia = 8.6577*10- 4 in4
▪ E = 107 psi, Max Thrust = 4000N

• There is no concern of column buckling under flight loading 13


Design: Materials and Manufacturing

• Fiberglass, Carbon
Fiber, Aluminum, Steel
• CNC Milling, CNC
Turning
• Composite Work

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Ground System Overview

Propellant Storage

Control System

Launch Stand 15
Ground System - Launch Stand

• Height: 38ft
• Launch Angle: 0° - 20°
• Man-Portable and
Assembled on-site
• Materials
▪ Aluminum stage truss
▪ Aluminum 1515 rail
▪ Wires and earth anchors

16
Ground System - Propellant Storage

• Nitrous Oxide temperature


concerns
▪ Climate-controlled wood panel
boxes with window
▪ Aluminum structure to keep tanks
secure
▪ Fluids system on box for fill

17
Ground System - Fluid Systems

• Ethane and Nitrous Oxide fill


lines
▪ Nitrogen purge system on both
lines
• Nitrogen pressurization system

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Ground System - Control and Data Acquisition

• Multiple sensor packages for status of propellants,


vehicle, and launch readiness
• Fill operations take place remotely
▪ Data acquisition and valve
control will occur via a
2,000 ft optical cable.
▪ Valve actuation by
Pneumatic Solenoids

19
Validation Testing

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