UC rocket group hopes to break NZ record

20 December 2013

UC's rocketry research group are launching a small supersonic rocket on Kaitorete Spit on Banks Peninsula this Sunday, in a bid to break a New Zealand record.

The University of Canterbury rocketry research group are launching a small supersonic rocket on Kaitorete Spit on Banks Peninsula this Sunday, in a bid to break a New Zealand record.

The rocket is 41mm in diameter, 541mm in length and was originally designed, built and tested by UC rocketry experts earlier this year.

UC rocketry project leader Dr Chris Hann (Electrical and Computer Engineering) says a new set of sensors and electronics have been implemented on the rocket including GPS, a transmitter for radar tracking and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to log all the orientation angles and accelerations.

"The rocket is expected to reach an altitude of 2.6km with maximum speed of 1425km an hour, in less than two seconds. In addition, successful recovery of the data will ensure that for the specific class of motor used, the UC rocket will break the New Zealand altitude record by a large margin.

"Two final year mechatronics students, David Wright and George Buchanan, have been working on upgrading the UC rocketry programme to full control at supersonic speeds.

"The smaller rocket is an important part of this programme since it allows very fast speeds at low altitudes that significantly simplify launch planning and recovery.

"This research has developed algorithms that can give a full and accurate picture of all the essential rocket aerodynamic parameters in real-time. The results from this research will provide accurate supersonic control systems with minimal flight testing and the ability to react to previously unseen disturbances or dynamics during flight."

Dr Hann is utilising this work for his Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, which is a joint venture with Rocket Lab on developing very flexible supersonic control systems for a range of rocket sizes and payloads. The research will also form the foundation for ongoing work into aerospace systems.

 

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz

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