REPORT FROM Michael VanderPutten and Ian Finn at Oregon State…Congrats!
Last month in Green River, Utah, the Experimental Sounding Rocketry Association (ESRA) held its 9th annual Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition (IREC). The competition challenges university students to design, build, and launch a rocket capable of ascending a 10 pound payload of sensors and experiments to a target altitude. This year, the basic category altitude was 10,000 feet AGL, with the advanced category rockets targeting 25,000 feet AGL. Points are awarded for flight performance, presentation, payload design, and the percentage of the rocket designed and built by students.
This was Oregon State University’s first year competing in the basic category of the competition, and they had high hopes for success. With the support of the OSU AIAA branch, industry sponsors from around the PNW, a team of around 10 undergraduate students, and twelve senior capstone members, the team was able to develop a very successful first attempt at a sounding rocket. Weighing in at just over 53 pounds, and with a length of 10 feet,Terminal Gravity was one of the larger rockets entered into the basic category. The team was able to test Terminal Gravity before launching with the help of the Oregon Rocketry club, and the landowners of the Brothers, OR launch site. During test launches, the rocket reached peak altitudes of 9,200 feet, and 10,800 feet, and had a few kinks to work out.
During competition, the OSU rocket flew beautifully, with a maximum altitude of 10,280 feet, and a flawless dual deployment recovery. The team was able to come away with a first place award from both the basic category, and the payload competition. Next year, the team hopes to compete in the advanced category, and begin development of a hybrid motor system for future rockets.