Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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2014-2015 Space Grant Midwest Rocketry Competition

NASA’s MN Space Grant, led from the AEM Department, and Tripoli MN, a high-power rocketry club, collaborated to run the 2014-2015 Space Grant Midwest Rocketry Competition on May 19 and 20, 2015. In this competition teams of college students from around the nation designed, built, and flew high-power rockets to accomplish specific goals. Students gave oral presentations about their rocket designs in on May 19 then flew their rockets at the Tripoli launch site near North Branch on May 20.

The competition had four main goals. Teams were required to (1) design and construct a high-power "boosted dart" (essentially a 2-stage rocket with no motor in the upper stage which drag-separate after motor burn-out) that will be recovered safely and in flyable condition, (2) predict its flight performance, (3) collect down-looking on-board video from the dart (during the ascent), and (4) construct a non-commercial on-board data collection package to characterize dart rotation in the X, Y, and Z axes over time, to compare with the video record.

The competition also included two written reports about the design, analysis, simulation, build, and test flight results of the rocket, an oral presentation the night before the competition flight day, plus a written report assessing competition flight performance. Scoring of the pre-competition reports and the post-flight report focused on both the rocket's system design and its performance and were scored by a panel of professional engineers from both academia and industry.

This year two U of MN student teams entered the Space Grant Midwest Rocketry Competition, one AEM Senior Design team and one all-freshmen team. The freshmen team's booster flew to nearly 2000 feet and their dart reached about 2500 feet. The senior team's rocket did better still, with the booster and dart reaching nearly 3000 and just over 4000 feet respectively. The U of MN Duluth actually won the flight part of the competition, with a dart that went over a mile high and a dart/booster apogee separation of over 2800 feet. A video collage of team photos (at the oral presentations) and on-board video (not all teams were able to collect this) is posted here:

Final reports are still being written and overall competition results will be announced in early June.


Freshmen Team

Senior Design Team

Last Modified: 2015-05-22 at 14:16:39 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation