Liquid V1 Engine

Timeline: Begin Assembly - Jan 2019, Cold Flow Testing - Feb 2019, First Hot Fire Test - April 2019

Every component of this engine is being designed and tested by students of the club. The impingement injector plate was designed by a member, Mile McKaig and was 3D printed using DMLS. The injector is made of Inconel in order to withstand the extreme pressures and temperatures of combustion.

The nozzle will be made of copper. After running several thermal simulations for our specific engine, copper was best suited to transferring the heat from the throat fast enough to keep from melting. The heat transfer properties of the nozzle material are so important because this engine is not going to be actively cooled.

The motor is built to run for up to 14 seconds producing about 1000 lbf of thrust with a chamber pressure of over 450 psi. Nearly all the components are in and testing will begin in February making for a very exciting year for Student Space Systems.

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Test Stand

Timeline: Finish Assembly - Feb 2019, Cold Flow Testing - Feb 2019, First Hot Fire Test - April 2019

The Student Space System’s engine test stand is being constructed primarily out of steel for a high safety factor and to reduce deformation that could affect data from out sensors. The engine will be mounted as it would in a rocket, facing downwards. The engine mount is on linear rails to allow all the force from the motor to be entirely transferred to the load sensors on the system.

The system also includes a basic flame deflector placed below the test stand in order to protect the property beneath the test stand and direct the hot exhaust gases away from tertiary engine components.

Testing will likely occur at Willard Airport at their retired aircraft engine testing pad. The tanks and plumbing will be mounted separately to the test stand and it a reinforced structure to protect the tanks and minimize the damage of a tank failure.

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Power Management

Timeline: PCB Assembly - Feb 2019, Test PCB - Feb 2019, Hot Fire - April 2019, Adapt for Liquid V2 Engine - May 2019

The Power Management team is responsible for assuring the many pressure and temperature sensors are fed with the proper voltages and an appropriately small level of noise. In addition, this system must be able to provide power at high current to an array of motors actuating our valves. As well as providing the proper voltage for using our igniters.

All this power will come from a bank of high discharge rate graphite LIPOs. The battery management and balancing will be performed by the board pictured here, designed by David Hickox.


Electric Turbo Pump

Timeline: Subscale Testing - Feb 2019, Full Scale Assembly - April 2019, Full Scale Testing - May 2019

The complex fluid phenomena that arise in turbomachinery makes them one of the most intricate systems in the rocket. Coupled with this is the fact that the pumps we are designing are going to be very small – maxing out around just 10 cm in diameter – while still pumping almost a liter/second at over 500 psi. To reduce some of the complexity these pumps will be electrically driven.

In order to ensure our simulations are correct we will first test a much smaller pump and verify our testing results with our simulation. Then our first full scale pump will retrofit onto the V1 engine’s fuel line, replacing the pressurant tank.

Taking what we learned from the previous two pumps, a pair of pumps will be designed for the fuel and oxidizer for the V2 engine system.

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Liquid V2 Engine

Timeline: PDR - May 2019, Initial Ground Testing - Fall 2020, Final Launch - Fall 2021

V2 is a liquid bipropellant rocket engine. Because liquid rocket engines are almost exclusively used in the industry, it is vital that SSS works to develop this technology.

Some of the new and exciting technologies to be implemented on V2 include regenerative cooling, thrust vector control, turbomachinery, and a conventionally manufactured like-impinging injector. These are all advanced technologies never before used in SSS.

Several parts of this engine are still in the development phase and are steadily progressing towards testing phases and final integration on the Phase V rocket.

Thrust Vector Control (TVC)

Timeline: Assembly - Jan 2019, First Ground Testing - Feb 2019, Flight Testing - April 2019

Our TVC structures team has developed a hardware design using 4 small electric linear actuators and a universal joint to both point the engine and transfer the thrust to the rocket. The avionics TVC team is currently developing the sensing tools and controls software.

These first TVC tests will be conducted at a smaller scale on our rapid reuse platform with an expected apogee of around 2000 feet. This small-scale testing will provide the experience SSS needs to develop a full scale TVC system for a liquid engine.