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Washington State University Aerospace Club

First Attempt at Certification Completed

Earlier today, Paul, Kevin, Katlyn, Mario, Curtis, and I traveled to Pasco, WA for Paul and Kevin’s first attempts to achieve Level 1 NAR certification. The Tri-Cities Rocketeers were gracious in letting us launch our rockets from their stands, as well as helping us navigate everything we needed to make our certification attempt possible. While both launches resulted in failure (parachutes failed to deploy), we all had a lot of fun watching others launch as well as launching our own rockets. I’m currently prepping video of our launch attempts, but here’s some photos of the event and a video of a particularly spectacular launch by Conrad of Seattle, WA to tide you over. Enjoy!

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Electronics Update

Successfully tested stratologger deployment capabilities at 10,000 ft and 50,000 ft within a vacuum chamber. Some deviation occurred during the 50k ft test, as the main chute deployment was delayed by more than 90 ft. This could be due to rate of depressurization of the chamber or an uncalibrated barometer on the altimeter. Further testing will be needed. Configuration settings and locating tone as advertised.

Electronic housing specifications have been narrowed down. Use of a 1″x4″ wooden plank for a support structure with threaded steel rods running lengthwise through the plank and surrounding bulkheads will be implemented. Bulkheads will consist of a carbon fiber bulkhead and aluminum face supplemented with wooden bulkheads that are o-ring sealed for the altimeter sensors. Currently waiting on ordered parts and diameter specifications of threaded rods/rocket body before further construction can take place.

Testing of carbon fiber housing around the recently purchased transmitter will take place ASAP. Further testing of the altimeter will be taking place next week along with some exploration into safety critical circuit arming techniques for use with current electronics bay design.


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Composites work continues…




Composites work to make structural components for the rocket body continues. We have not achieved the perfection we seek yet, but are learning much in the process!



Payload Lead Wk-3 Dallas Chang

Payload has been progressing well. The payload order was submitted and I am waiting to hear back what they think of my proposal.

My teammates Malique and Daniel are both doing well on their project ideas. As you can imagine balancing school and the aerospace activities takes full time commitment and we have been researching a lot before putting the money where our mouths are.

  • Malique has been working on the GPS/Altimeter device and came up with a new way to record the rocket’s path and that was through tracking. Not quite as comprehensive as GPS, cheaper to do, and allows a more unique way to know where the rocket is going. Tracking is something he brought up with me that is closely related to what the robotics team is doing and seems to be a good mix of having ready made parts and building it yourself.
  • Daniel is researching ways to record acceleration which has been easy to do, but most technologies try to factor out vibration with their recording instruments, so trying to find something to strictly record vibration has been hard to do. What it sounds like we would need to do is to set some accelerometer to a very high frequency and make it very sensitive to just small adjustments in movement. Still a working plan in progress though.
  • On my side, I’ve submitted the paperwork and hope that my payload gets paid and shipped real soon. I’ve found a very affordable way online through the instructuables website to make a Go-Pro camera holder. To add weight it looks like we might have to add several Go-Pro’s. I’ve been meaning to talk about my adding weight payload ideas with things like a ballast but haven’t found a good forum to bring it up yet. It may be best till we have a payload module to see how best to add weight to it before launch.

As always, this is just a snapshot of what’s been happening so far. I’ll be sure to keep you posted more regularly. Till, next week.

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”
– Lao Tzu

Weighted Ejection Charges

Recovery went out this weekend to test how much of a charge would be needed to separate the main fuselage from the motor section with simulated weights of the actual rocket. Positive results were achieved and we will be moving forward with parachute testing for timing purposes soon.IMG_20150215_090540 IMG_20150215_095038

Payload Lead-Dallas Chang Wk 2

Sorry for the late post but there’s been a lot going on.

First off, we have two more members to the Payload Team, bringing us to a total of 3 people. I decided that it would be best if we delegated the tasks to individuals instead of trying to all accomplish the same thing at the same time. But here’s the breakdown of responsibility

  1. Dallas – Getting the Payload Module and finding a way to add a Go-Pro inside to get some live action video of lift off and return
  2. Daniel – Researching a way to record both acceleration and vibration for the rocket
  3. Malique – Finding a way to get us a GPS unit that tracks as well as records altitude, a little altimeter action for the fans.

Another point of information is that the payload needs to weigh at least 10lbs so I thought if there was some way to add a ballast to the module, that could provide some dampening, that may translate out into better translational movement and cut any extra vibrations out of the rocket. Right now that is all just speculation and idea, it needs to be talked over with some of the other group leads before it actually gets done though.

I’m planning that at the end of the week we will have the payload module purchased and shipping, along with some progress on the research and electronics to get some good momentum going for the group. But I’ll let you know how it’s going in a week.

—-Dallas Chang, Payload Lead

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Electronics Update

The electronics group successfully tested the voltage data, pressure data, and altitude data collection capabilities of the StratoLogger device. The USB powered StratoLogger was tested with the PerfectFliteDataCap program. On another topic, we are considering using the Arduino board for a payload experiment. This would occur if we can’t get the IPC-A-610 Class 3 certification requirements approved with a valid electronics company. This certification applies to all custom circuit boards being used within the rocket.  In lieu of this, we may acquire another StratoLogger device.  For next week, we will construct the electronics bay prototype. Also, we will soon be testing the StratoLogger chute deployment capabilities. Additionally, the memory capabilities of the device’s peripheral EEPROM memory will soon be tested with greater scrutiny.


Recovery: Ejection Charge Test 2.0

Today was far more successful than the previous trip to the rock quarry for testing ejection charges. The nosecone popped off with little effort and sheared all shear pins! We now have a better idea of how much ejection charge we need to ensure proper separation and definitely had some fun testing!