Below are some of our currently ongoing projects.
We introduce new projects almost every term, and are always open to sponsoring member projects!
ONGOING PROJECTS FOR 2023
Liquid Rocket Engine Second-Gen Ablatives Engine Completion: August 2023
Picture: Pre-chilled First-Gen Engine, Moments before Ignition
For the past three years, SFU Rocketry has been developing liquid-fueled heatsink and ablative rocket engines in-house. In support of that, we've had teams designing and building the control systems and the fluid systems required to manage the harsh conditions inside the rocket engine. Investing in this infrastructure now means the creation of our next-gen regenerative cooled engines are much shorter turnaround, and students will get to experience them sooner than ever. Working on this system gives experience with mechanical design, fluid mechanics, electronics, and software.
Picture: Liquid Oxygen Loading
Picture: Ignition of First-Gen Heatsink Engine
High Altitude Payload Project Launch: August 2023
Image Source: Adapted from NATO Science for illustration purposes only
A large portion of the club is currently designing and building a flight control payload that will be launched into the stratosphere, on board a high-altitude balloon. All components of the payload are designed by our club members, and will enable us to test RF communication modules, flight sensors, on-board computing, and flight path mapping and prediction, all of which will be required in the rocket. This team works with antenna and propagation theory, high-speed PCBs, lightweight and modular power systems, sensor fusion for positional mapping, and various mechanical systems required for the payload chain and balloon. We will be travelling to launch this balloon in late summer 2023.
Image Source: RF Beam Pattern adapted from AGI
All of our hardware projects require reliable power systems and often have special requirements related to weight, high-power delivery, modularity, temperature and weather resistance, etc. Our power systems team handles all of these requirements by designing and building our own battery modules, battery management PCBs, power converters, and the accompanying validation equipment such as dynamic loads and analyzers.
In order to light our big rocket engine, we need a smaller lighter that still packs a punch. To get the balance of size and heat right, we're developing an augmented spark igniter. Similar to a miniature rocket engine, and lit by a spark plug, it runs off nearly the same propellants as our main engine, which simplifies the development and testing.
Our rocket engines use liquid oxygen (LOX), which is transported from a large supply dewer to the engine tanks before firing. LOX is a pure oxidizer, and a cryogenic near absolute zero, which makes it challenging to work with. In order to monitor the status of the tanks when filling and firing, our Cryo Module team is developing a LOX-safe sensor and processing module to ensure our LOX tank is filled correctly.
In order to test our electronics in a high-altitude environment like they'd experience in a rocket, the convential approach is to use an environmental chamber to simulate the low pressures and temperatures. Since these are almost all prohibitively expensive, we've decided to build our own. Working on this project requires everything from mechanical design of the enclosure, cooling, and heating systems, to the electronics and software required to keep it operating at peak efficiency and performance.
Image Source: Adapted from Wewontech
Image Source: Adapted from Airborne Systems
Our Payload Recovery team is developing a system to solve uncontrollable and unpredictable landing of high altitude payloads. Their system will enable precise landing coordinates and controllable decent of an autonomous parachute payload chain.
Graphical User Interface
Image Source: Adapted from Research Gate by Flora Mechentel
The graphical user interface (GUI) project team is working on developing our front-facing control and monitoring interface, and also the supporting networking back-end, to our liquid fuel rocket engine test stand control software. Along with this, live video streams are being built in to our network to allow for better system monitoring and diagnostics of the test staff from our control center
UPCOMING PROJECTS FOR 2023
Image Source: Adapted from Eclipse Engineering
For our future rocket engines, we will be attempting an experimental project never before completed by a Canadian organization: Creating our own turbopumps. These high-power devices allow for much lighter tanks and more efficient rockets. Turbopumps require everything from the mechanical design of the pump, coupling, and housing to high-resolution fluid analysis and the electronics and sensors required to monitor the performance.
Control Simulations for Active Pressurization and TVC
On the simulations and control project team, we work on system modeling, simulations and data analytics to characterize and optimize the performance of our systems. We also design and implement control and sensor processing algorithms for our current and future vehicles and systems