With California Space Grant support, UCSD Aerospace Engineering Senior design students are able to integrate their coursework with practical hands-on applications, gain real world experience and systems engineering skills by launching individualized rocket experiments.
In groups of 4 or 5, the students are responsible for building, testing and flying a 50lb thrust solid rocket or hybrid rocket. Each group chooses two variables to measure such as stagnation pressure, stagnation temperature or propellant tank pressure. Then, each group predicts the expected values during their flight. They are graded on the accuracy of their predictions and the complexity of their experiment.
On June 6, 2011, the class launched their rockets in the desert of Plaster City, CA. After the launch, students analyzed the data obtained and prepared reports on the success of their experiments.
Photos courtesy of Colin Sheredy.