One small step for an egg, one giant leap for Egg-kind. Every year, Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE) has the Small Rocket Project (SRP). During the SRP, aspiring DARE members have the opportunity to build their own rocket in a small team of 8 to 10 people. Under the supervision of their experienced mentor, they need to design and build a rocket which shoots an egg to 1 km altitude and brings it back safely on the 20th of May. This year, four teams are participating to the SRP and in the spirit of Easter and the eggs that come with it, I will tell you everything that there is to know about this EGG-citing project.
Acronyms and other puns have always been one of the cornerstones of space related engineering (NEAT – Near Earth Asteroid Tracking). Now combine egg protection with about 30 aspiring aerospace engineers and the funniest things happen. Team SpaceEGGs is a great example of original punny names. But thinking of puns is not the only thing that keeps the SpaceEGGs busy. This team is planning to use a live telemetry system. One of the most interesting features is that they can see the orientation of the rocket live on screen by the use of a 3D model. This way they can see if the rocket has reached apogee yet, and theoretically, deploy their recovery system on demand. Besides that, they also want live data regarding for example altitude. Some very interesting features which will be discussed in detail another time.
When asked how team JMNANMJ came up with their name, one of the responses were “We chose that name since it’s symmetrical, it encompasses all our initials and if you put a potato in your mouth it’s pronounced ‘Gemini’.” The strength of team JMNANMJ lies not in complicated secondary missions. “We really are just focussing at peak performance and reliability by keeping things simple.” This is why this team uses glass fiber as a shell for their rocket to reduce weight. Also, by using long cords and by detaching the nose cone as well as a part of the body tube, they make sure the parachute gets fully exposed to air and thus will have far greater chances to deploy correctly.
Everybody who is familiar with Kerbal Space Program will know that, when Jebediah controls your spacecraft, nothing will go wrong. That must have been what the Jebstars were thinking when they thought it was a good idea to take a miniature Jebediah with them. “Jebediah is our figurehead to space. One problem that we face right now is the fact that we still want to see Jebediah, so we need to make a window for him”. Taking such a skilled pilot with you is not a bad idea, considering the fact that they want to touch the ground as fast as possible. “Our rocket will attempt to have the fastest descent, so fastest timing going from apogee to landing on the ground, by deploying the parachute as late as possible”. Only a pilot as courageous as Jebediah will be able to pull that off successfully. Good luck to you, Jebstars!
Last but definitely not least, my team. We have decided to keep it classic as team Ground Control with our rocket Major Tom. We have been working hard to create the best egg protection system. Where other people are mostly working with bubble-wrap, we took it one step further. I would like to say that no eggs have been hurt during these experiments, but sadly that is not the case (they tasted amazing though). Ten eggs have bravely given their lives before we found out that the stuffing of a bike saddle cover works best. But supreme egg protection is not the only thing that Major Tom has to offer. Besides Major Tom, we also have a Minor Tom. This rocket will be a two-stage rocket, where the second stage is almost entirely 3D-printed.
Every team has some EGGstraordinairy features in their rocket. How these aspects EGGsactly work will, of course, be discussed later on. But for now, there is only one thing left to say: That’s all, yolks! Happy Easter.