Three AE Teams Compete in Regional Rocket Launch
Three AE student teams designed and built rockets then tested them against the best from other colleges and universities in five Midwestern states during the recent 2012 regional Collegiate Rocket Competition.
The 21 teams participating were charged with designing a one-stage, high-powered rocket that could transmit live video from a downward-looking camera to a ground receiver during the rocket’s ascent. The rocket needed to clear an altitude of 2,500 feet, and be recovered safely and in flyable condition.
From Illinois, the teams were the Illinois Space Society (ISS) Tech Team, with team leader Jason Allen and members Erik Lopez, Rishi Bajekal and William Bader; the Rough Riders, with team leader Akshita Kakarlapudi and members Kyle Pieper, Elliot Schwartz, and Matt Schonert; and Team 2, with team leader Jason Morich and members Aliya Burkit, Robyn Macdonald, Raghav Kochhar, and Heath Reising. The teams worked on issues such as payload, electronics, structures, simulation and testing, video transmission and educational outreach.
Said Allen, “The competition was an excellent opportunity to get students from ISS involved in more outside of the university, and was a great opportunity to try something new with our video transfer system, on which we attempted to use video chat. Unfortunately, reception didn't hold out for us.” The ISS Team’s rocket reached 2,551 feet.
Kakarlapudi also thought the experience was worthwhile. “Our team’s approach to this project was to have a simple design backed up with precise execution. Simplifying the design as much as possible leads to less possibilities of failure. That backed up with attention to detail while constructing the rocket, we believed would result in a successful project. Our rocket, the RR-217, hit an apogee of 2,811 feet, transmitted approximately 8 seconds of live video, and was retrieved in a flyable condition.
“We enjoyed participating in this competition and learned a lot,” Kakarlapudi continued. “We gained valuable rocketry experience and learned different techniques and tips to improve the rockets performance from other groups that participated.”
Morich also saw benefits in participating, and thanked those who helped the students.
“Designing and building the rocket as a team was a great learning experience,” he said. “I didn’t have any experience leading projects before this, and I learned a lot. Nobody on our team had any experience with high power rocketry, so we all learned quite a bit about that as well.
Tema 2’s rocket reached a maximum altitude of 2,741 feet, and had about 7 seconds of good video during its ascent. “We would not have done nearly as well as we did without the help of Mark Joseph and Jonathan Sivier of the Central Illinois Aerospace rocketry club,” Morich said.
Teams participated from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Minnesota.
Please refer to the Aerospace Engineering at The University of Illinois Facebook page for more photos.