ASTRo Takes Flight

in NEWS, Students

BU Rocket Propulsion Group launches first amateur rocket to do active control

Jasmine Carter

March 29th, 2015 was a picturesque spring day: its cerulean blue sky a perfect backdrop for the impending launch of BU Rocket Propulsion Group’s (BURPG) ASTRo. This rocket’s flight was an important step in the group’s goal of launching Starscraper later this summer, in that it was a simple, cost-effective, and robust way to test out the control system to be used for it.

During this launch, the control system proved itself by keeping the rocket on course and only allowing high altitude winds to push it approximately 40m away from the launch pad centerline. This was a massive improvement compared to an earlier uncontrolled test launch where the rocket moved away from the launch pad centerline by nearly 300m in conditions that were similar.

The team will be traveling to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada in July, to launch their rocket, Starscraper, a 1100lb hybrid rocket. Their goal: to make Starscraper the first hybrid rocket to go over the Kármán line.

Quick ASTRo Flight Stats:

  • Burnout at 5 seconds
  • Apogee: 1189 meters
  • Maximum velocity: 150 m/s
  • Time to Apogee: 17 seconds
  • Surface winds at launch: 10mph

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