Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Whats been happening lately

Very little rocketry has been happening lately because of exams and another project I have been working on. A friend of mine has been working on an idea for a while suggested that we apply for the iLab "incubator" program (not really thinking we would get in) which is a startup accelerator program. Everything happened pretty quickly, over a the course of a weekend we finished a proof of concept and got past the first round. Then we went to a 4 day assessment and got into the program which provides funding and mentoring. I will talk about it eventually but we want to keep the product quiet for now. Last week I quit my job to work on it time so I wont be able to afford to keep the workshop next year or have a particulary big rocketry budget. The timing of everything worked out fairly well because the lease on the workshop ended last month (we got a 1 month extension to move everything out) so I will be moving back into my garage. Also I am graduating at the end of this year so now was the ideal time to leave my job (was a cadet at Baulderstone (Australian construction engineering company)).  I am planing on going a masters next year but depending on how the startup goes I might postpone it.

I have mixed feelings about the workshop. It was great to have a dedicated space where you could make noise late at night but it was also expensive and I feel like we could have done more with the money. Someone pointed out to that the real value is having a location that you can test at and I think that is right. Being able to just walk outside and test something in a fairly remote location (known is around on the weekend) was great and I think I took it for granted. In future testing will be a day or weekend long activity.

So I am not entirely sure what will be happening rocketry wise. I am meeting with Burren and Sam tomorrow night to discuss things. I have been wanting to turn choked flow into more of a group as opposed to myself driving things and now might be a good time to do that. Realistically I don't think I will have enough time or money to work on any large rocketry projects for a while. I was thinking that a good way to start more group orientated stuff and attract more members is to start a new project from scratch to build up everyones skills. The hovering rocket was good but I was really the only one who could do/was interested in the programming/electronics and Bart was the only one who understood the control in-depth. I was thinking a cool project to develop team wok/skills could be another nitrous oxide bi-propellant thruster with a electric nitrous decomposition pre chamber. I think that if we could demonstrate a simple proof of concept and made everything open there would be a good chance of getting some money from kickstarter but it will depend on what everyone else wants to do. Something else I have been itching to try out is a roll stabilised clear  payload for a HPR which could be used to stabilise a camera.

Also on the 15th I tested thruster 2 again with the 20Kg load cell. The results were pretty much the same, just slightly smoother and higher resolution. Thrust was slightly lower than expected with a max of about 4.5Kg but I think that was because of calibration.

Considering that thrust would be used in the top %30 its range this is probably good enough to fly the rocket. Also I think we could improve this significantly by making the injector smaller.

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