The Structure Team is responsible for all the non-electronic and non-engine related components of our rockets.
In addition to structural components the team is also developing the launchpads and recovery systems. Much of the work the team does is actually building and manufacturing components for the rockets and surrounding systems. The structural components of a rocket have requirements that differ a lot from ground based systems. Resulting in the high G-forces at launch, a great strength of the rocket body is needed. Simultaneously the rocket requires to be as light as possible to achieve a higher apogee. When using water pressure rockets like we do on our Athena 0.1 and Athena 0.2 rocket, the body must also withstand a inner pressure of up to 20bar. By adding all these requirements, finding the right materials and the optimal manufacturing process can be a difficult task.
Students from many different subjects combine their knowledge and work on solving theses problems. The hands on experience and the practical work give a great compensation to the theoretical everyday university life.
Our current main project is the development and the construction of the Athena 0.2 water rocket. The main water tank will be made of fiberglass. The tank will be sealed and a high strength will be generated by laminating it.
Many of the other components, like payload section and nosecone will be 3D printed. The process of additive manufacturing gives the possibility to design complex parts, that normally would be very time consuming to make. The parts can be printed in a matter of hours, so a lot of prototypes and iterations can be created without the problems of time and costs.
The construction of the launchpad of Athena 0.2 is also a task that the team is currently working on. Prior to the start, the rocket will be pressurized and hold onto the launchpad before letting it go. This “Hold down” mechanism is quite complex and is a big part in the construction of the launchpad.
Got interested? If you like actually building parts of our rockets and use different manufacturing methods, the structure section is the right place for you. Join us every Tuesday at 17:30 on the TUDSaT Discord server!