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Washington State University Aerospace Club

Aerodynamics’ First Post!

Last semester: We researched rocket stability, aerodynamic principles such as lift and drag, and worked with the other teams to make a model of our rocket using the program OpenRocket (OpenRocket Model). This gave us a good idea of what we were working with in terms of stability and speed, and let us begin to design our rocket around these parameters. After much discussion and research, we decided on the following:

  • Fins
    • Number of fins: 4
      • having four instead of three meant they could be made shorter and therefore stronger, even though it adds a bit of drag
    • Type of airfoil: Thin, symmetrical
    • Manufacturing: Hotwire cutting out of foam, then laminating with carbon fiber and epoxy
    • Mounting process: through-the-wall mounting
  • Nosecone
    • Shape: Ogive
      • This type of shape has the best performance at transonic speeds and good performance in the subsonic region as well
    • Manufacturing: Turning high-density foam on a CNC lathe, then laminating with carbon fiber and epoxy

This semester: We’ve been working on finalizing our design for our fins and our nosecone. Taking into consideration our estimated max velocity of .9 mach, our nosecone and fins need to be able to perform well into the transonic speed range. To account for this, we’ve chosen the Von Karman Ogive nosecone shape and supercritical airfoils for our fins.

Looking forward: We will be working on manufacturing our nosecone and fins in the coming weeks.

Electronics Update

Fall semester : We selected primary safety critical circuit components (SCC)  which are an:

Arduino Uno

Inertial measurement unit(IMU)

EEPROM (memory) (512 Kb non-volatile memory)(

We have enough memory but will likely have to use it sparingly.

and secondary SCC components:

Stratologger (StratoLogger info)



electronics bay prototype
Electronics bay prototype


arduino uno back
arduino uno front Arduino Uno R3

This semester:

We have received the IMU and EEPROM

Reviewed wiring rules


Assessing components next week to see if components qualify as flight-worthy.

construct prototype bay (Note wiring rules & regulations: wiring_rules_v2 )

Recovery: VHF transmitters / Directional antenna

  • GPS/Network modules
  • Cost/Range/Etc…
  • Clarification (“Stages”)

Launch hardware

  • Select Components
  • Construct prototype

Assemble SCC’s

  • Begin testing/calibrating
  • Fit to electronics bay
  • Familiarize ourselves with the different components
  • Ground testing



A big thanks goes out to VCEA and Jake Leachman for allowing 5 members of the Aerospace Club to attend the AUVSI Event in Warm Springs, Oregon this year. Paul, Eli, Kevin, Den, and Jon all spread out to network with almost every company that participated and were able to gain contacts who would be able to help out the club this year with our rocket design and manufacturing. Some individuals even offered to support the club financially. All in all, the event was well attended and well put on. A great experience for sure!

We even got a photo with the president of AUVSI!


New Website

Our new website is now live. Please look around and enjoy! New features and updates should be coming daily, so be sure to check back later for more info, more pretty pictures, and more of everything.