Cambridge University’s amateur rocket flies OK and then gets lost

by | May 9, 2012 | Science, Suborbital, Technology | 0 comments

In early May, teams of rocket enthusiasts were at the Big Range 2012 Launch Campaign in Sutherland, Scotland to hold suborbital high altitude experimental rocketry tests.  The event is a collaboration between the Scottish Aeronautics & Rocketry Association (SARA), UK Rocket Association (UKRA) and AspireSpace. 

 

Of the teams, one from Cambridge University made an attempt at taking the current UK altitude record for an amateur rocket.   The record currently stands at 24,500 feet and the Cambridge hoped to better that by 10,000 feet using a two stage solid fuel rocket using 15kg of ammonium perchlorate – the same fuel that were used by the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) on the Space Shuttle launch system.  The Cambridge team’s rocket’s light weight structure was made from carbon fibre and red anodised aluminium.  The total mass of the rocket was 40kg.

 

After a one day delay due to ignition failure, the launch and stage separation went well on 3 May.  However, sadly, the team could not tell whether the altitude record had been breached as they could not find the second stage with the altimeter recording system aboard.   The science writer, Dr. Lucy Rogers, who was observing the launch, amusingly commented: “We hope the gamekeeper will come across it sometime.”

 

The team was not disheartened however and gained plaudits from rocket experts including James Macfarlane, Chairman of the UK Rocket Association (UKRA) and Director of the rocket research firm Airborne Engineering Ltd:  “I am very impressed with this group. Every problem they have encountered they have designed and built elegant and professional solutions.”

 

Given the altitude targets involved, a special NOTAM air traffic warning was issued for the event which is now expected to become an annual gathering.   Next year, the Cambridge University Spaceflight Rocket Team is promising to return with a three-stage rocket capable of reaching 50,000 feet.  

 

 

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

NASA: Orion to get Apollo command module style balloons

It looks like NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle is going to have even more similarities with the space agency's Apollo Read more

JAXA: Hayabusa still hanging in there

It is not quite as dramatic as Apollo 13 but the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) malfunctioning Hayabusa probe that Read more

VIDEO: Watch Shenzhou-7 land

VIDEO: Watch Shenzhou-7 land

Orion assessment details for a return to land landing

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog written by Flight technical editor Rob Coppinger

Land-Sea Orion CEV airbag/floatation system study underway

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog written by Flight technical editor Rob Coppinger

Space agency updates

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight's technical reporter Rob Coppinger

Further fallout from Russo-Ukraine war on aerospace industry

While the main effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have already become apparent, most noticeably by the cancellation of Read more

Northrop Grumman’s Space Logistics outlines plans for MRV satellite servicing mission in 2024

SpaceLogistics, a subsidiary of American manufacturer Northrop Grumman, announced its plans for launching its  MRV satellite on 21 February. The Read more

Categories

Archives