Aerospace Engineering Department
BS in Aerospace Engineering
A high-altitude, two-stage rocket was designed, built, and entered in the advanced category of the 7th Annual Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition (IREC). The rocket, called AJAKS, featured an internal skeleton made of carbon fiber rods, and a combination of plywood, carbon, and aluminum bulkheads. Loads were driven through the internal structure, with an outer skin tube providing an aerodynamic surface. A unique separation device was developed to ensure proper stage separation. The competition required the rocket to carry a 10-lb payload, which was chosen by the team to consist of an IMU and data logging computer for recording the descent profile, a CubeSat test unit, and a digital video recorder. Prior to the competition launch, AJAKS was test launched on May 5th in the Mojave at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) launch facility. During the test launch AJAKS suffered a PIRM malfunction and the main parachute did not deploy. Following the test launch, the second stage of the rocket was rebuilt with a stronger payload configuration. The ESRA IREC was held on June 21st to the 24th. AJAKS was launched on the 23rd and during ascent the second stage became unstable and reached an altitude of only 6,000 ft. Both stages suffered damage upon landing.