Since 1942, when Wernher von Braun launched a rocket with 2 tonnes of rocket (and a lethal V2 rocket) into space, there were more than 5,000 missile launchers, many of which are NASA, some of the Chinese and Russian space agencies, and more and more , from SpaceX and other commercial companies for spaceflight.
However, Liquid Rocket Lab in Cal Poly Pomona wants to be the first university team to raise 4,500 feet and – in the future – into space.
PCMag is invited to meet with the team's missile, Bronco, the team of aeronautical technicians and supervisor Dr. Franck Chandler, an assistant professor at the Engineering College who handles the design, propulsion and computer dynamics of the fluid.
"I'm [1950s] October sky generation, "Professor Chandler told PCMag when we arrived." Inspired by the first launch of Sputnik to enter the rocket. I spent 40 years in the aerospace industry, first in Rockwell International and then in Boeing, just like they did on Apollo. During that time, I worked on many NASA programs, including Space Shuttle, performing the mission, analyzing during missile launches, ensuring that the astronauts who left went back. "
In the conference room of Aerospace Engineering, we sat at an informative meeting of 70 team members: Richard Picard, Alfredo Herrera, Tatsuya Danno, Colby Truong, Eric Gonzalez and Jesus David Montes – all students in aviation, engineering, mathematics or physics.
Then we all went to Building 13, where Structure Lab is. Large hangar-type facility full of rocket equipment: tools, sensors, pipes, cryogenic rocket transfer valves, nose sleeves, parachutes, tail blondes and raw materials ranging from wood to high quality carbon fibers at various work tables.
Bronco 1 is currently in pieces when the team is working on it. But at full distance, it is 15 meters tall, weighs 115 kilograms, has a liquid methane ignition engine, aluminum / fiberglass leather, "Cygnus Ablative Cooled Engine", and finances a $ 1.67 million donation from the foundation National College Resources Foundation.
Here are some teams that talk about their specific area of responsibility for Bronco 1:
Alfredo Herrera on electronics Bronco 1:
Colby Truong on liquid fuel system Bronco 1:
Eric Gonzalez on the Bronco 1:
Richard Picard on test module Bronco 1:
Tatsuya Now on the Bronco 1:
Bronco 1 went through several tests last year, including one earlier this year at Lake Lerin at Dry Lake Launch in the middle of the Mojave Desert, at an altitude of 2,848 feet.
"That night, the test team stayed here pretty late in the lab, for testing before the launch," Alfredo Herrera told us. "Then we drove about 4 hours in a truck that we borrowed from the Engineering College, for the security purposes of the rocket was broken and we mounted it in place."
"What are the fragile components we are putting in Pelikan protection cases," Richard Picard added. "We remain benches between ice cubes in the rear of the truck."
When they arrived in the Mojave Desert a few hours later, the team cut out of their fleet of vehicles and entered the formation, each sub-team with its task. They worked for more than two hours until they were ready to take him to the launch chain.
"[We] he went to Rangemaster, told him we would let him go, put him there, set the heights and return to a safe distance, "Picard said.
Satisfied that all security checks were performed, Rangemaster started the countdown and Bronco 1 escaped. Here video recording from the day when a member of the team Erica Gonzalez recorded on the phone. If you're at work, turn off the speakers – that's it loud.
Here's a launch from the ground. Warning: LOUD!
Video credit for Eric Gonzalez. pic.twitter.com/8hqcJgzbyk
– CPP Liquid Rocket Lab (@ CPPLRL) May 21, 2018
"Then we all prayed for the parachute to open," said Tatsuya Danno. "You started watching it, then" pop "- it's an amazing feeling." A GPS transmitter was connected to the parachute, so the team could find the sleeve and return it to the lab.
Bronco 1 is constantly testing. "Our next will be the first" Fire Fire Test ", explains Jesus David Montes. Every part of the rocket needs to be tested, and it's easiest and efficient – each of them works in isolation."
"We need to ensure that our electronics can cope with cryogenic temperatures," Gonzalez said, "and all the lines and parts work properly. The next test environment will be on the campus, taking at least twenty components – including solenoids, valves and through them liquid nitrogen, to minus 286 [F] in order to ensure that nothing freezes under these conditions. "
If you do Follow CPPLRL on Twitter, will publish updates from that test day and interview for the team.
After that, everything is directed to one goal: the FAR-Mars Launch competition of March 2, 2019. Together sponsored by the Mars Society (Denver) and Friends of the Amateur Rocket (California), the competition was held earlier this year in the Desert of Mojave, but no one won a $ 100,000 prize.
"This is because launching a rocket on liquid energy above 45,000 feet is a seriously complicated and difficult task," explains Professor Chandler. "But if a team can do this in 2019, that's it. It's a great group of engineers, I think everyone should go to town school and I know they have great career ahead of them in aviation."