P1: Nitrous at Balls in '09


Project Summary

This page contains the high-level project summary. The format is taken from the original project proposal, but the contents have been updated as the project has evolved. Each major project has its own set of pages, linked here.


  • Prepare for a launch in '10 or '11 of at least 50,000 feet on a nitrous hybrid.
  • Build and launch a hybrid at BALLS '09:
  • Entire project cost to be less than $3K, exclusive of the cost of the trip to BALLS. The budget does not include tooling.

Most Recent Results

The most recent testing results are linked here.

Video from our most recent hot-fire test is available on YouTube.

Major Components:

Avionics and Recovery
  • Project Lead: Rik Faith
  • Components:
    • Altitude measurement
    • Recovery system deployment, including apogee detects and ejection system
    • System for locating the rocket once on the ground.
    • Any other payload (e.g cameras, experimental instrumeents)
Air Frame
  • Project Lead: Steve Daniel
    • All tubes, nose cone, fins, couplers.
    • Motor mount and positive retention
    • Includes rail buttons and hard attach points to the airframe
  • Project Lead: Evan Daniel
    • Engine design, development and testing
    • Fuel, ignition.
    • Fill, vent, and dump.
    • Inludes all on-board plumbing, quick-disconnects, etc.
Ground Support
  • Project lead: Evan Daniel
    • Nitrous tankage
    • Nitrous chill
    • Fill and dump valves and controls
    • Ignition control
Launch Logistics
  • Project Lead: TBD
    • Nitrous supply, both NC and NV
    • Transportation, lodging.
    • Ground based GPS, communications
    • All launch paperwork (TAP, Tripoli, as required)
  • Project Lead: Steve Daniel
    • Maintain this web site. (I get to do this because I have the nifty software for doing so on my laptop.)

Major Schedule Milestones

fall 08: Launch
summer 08: Final logistics; refinement based on test results
April 08: Supersonic Test Launch (MDRA's Red Glare)
winter 07-08: Finish recovery system, test launches
winter 07-08: GSE build-out and test
fall 07: Motor test
fall 07: L3 certification
summer 07: Construct major airframe components
summer 07: Engine test stand and instrumentation
summer 07: Small scale tests, fuel characterization
summer 07: completely design and build an L3 rocket
may 07: finalize high-level design

High level budget:

Motor $600, includes on-board plumbing, quick disconnects
Airframe $300, includes CF, expoxy, phenolic tubes, finishing supplies
Avionics $700, includes ground station
Recovery $100, includes chutes, hardware, shock cord
GSE: $600, includes ground tanks, valves, control boxes
Consumables $350, nitrous and fuel during testing cycles
Overage $350, anything I've not thought of; cost overruns

High level design:

  • 48" x 4" of 6061-T6 aluminun tube, machined as an engine casing.
  • Fueled by PBAN w/ carbon black and possible aluminum loading
  • Chilled nitrous (400 PSI tank pressure)
  • Estimating an M-1000 with approximately 9000 N-S total impulse
  • 280 lbs initial thrust
  • 26 lbs total mass, including fuel, nitrous, flight plumbing
  • 9' x 4" carbon fibre over phenolic.
  • Nose cone will be Performance Rocketry's 98mm 4:1 tangent Ogive, modified to hold the telemetry package
  • Fins will be carbon over glass
  • Finish needs to be smooth as glass. Motor section must be white.
  • 6 lbs (??) exclusive of hardware
  • Custom. Onboard GPS with gound-link for recovery.
  • Altimeter-base apogee detect.
  • Timer back-up apogee detect.
  • 2 lbs (possibly more, depending on telemetry batteries)
  • Apogee: an Aerocon 12" artillery chutes? Streamer?
  • Main: 3 Aerocon 60" artillary chutes
  • misc hardware, including shock cord, eye bolts, etc
  • 4 lbs
  • Rented commercial nitrous cylinder (75 lbs capacity?)
  • Continuous duty valves
  • solid-state valve controller, cat5 control link to LCO

Mass Ratio (Wet to Dry): 38 / 27.5 = 1.4
Flight Plan:
  • approximately 10 minutes fueling time
  • 8 second burn
  • 25 second coast to apogee
  • apogee at 20,000 feet
  • 2 minute descent