Development Blog

As we make progress on our design, construction, and testing we will post thoughts, feelings, and (because we are scientists) cold hard facts about the status of our rocket.


posted Jan 28, 2012, 3:38 PM by Josh Edelman   [ updated Jan 28, 2012, 3:40 PM ]

Today I cut the slots for the fins on the fancy new mill, and tonight we plan to range test the transmitter for the payload. There's not much left to do stucturally on the rocket, save cut a few static ports and rivet holes, then tie everything together. Can't wait to launch!


"More Work?" - Human Peasant from Warcraft III

posted Jan 21, 2012, 7:06 PM by Jeb Brooks

With winter break over our team has gone back to the grind. We are nearly finished with the CDR Document and CDR Presentation, and have resumed work on the full scale rocket. We plan to do ejection testing soon and are nearly ready for a full payload electronics test. We are feeling great and looking forward to a great semester.

PDR Presentation success!

posted Dec 5, 2011, 8:49 PM by Josh Edelman

Today we got to the CS conference room at 6:00 AM sharp for our PDR presentation. Everything went smoothly (once WebEx was up and running), and we got some great questions feedback on the PDR. Now, among other things, we need to add two redundant charge holders on the main and drogue pistons. We've already wired, tied, and epoxied the shock cords, so this'll take some figuring out...

Other than that, we're still on track for a February test launch! T-68 days and counting!

Full-Scale Construction!!!1!!!11!!!1!

posted Dec 3, 2011, 2:15 AM by Christopher Cotner

Tessa, Josh, Jeb and I worked for a few hours today. My grand plan of transferring experience and skill through brute force has succeeded: after building the sub scale, the work went quickly and efficiently. Our new non-toxic and fume-less Aeropoxy ES6209 proved itself with ease of use in our new squeeze-bottles. We finished assembly of the main motor mount, central bulkheads in the recovery bays, and began the pistons-the piston plates are finished and attached to the kevlar and nomex cord, minus the hole for ejection (waiting on the charge canisters for precise dimensions) and the wire terminals. Basic machine work has begun on the aluminum bulkheads. We also started the 38mm adaptor, in case the ideal motor for our launch works out to be the Aerotech J825, J570W or the CTI Pro-38 J530. My tentative plan is to composite-wrap the tubes next week as we finish finals but before we go home for winter break. 

Rail Size / Rocket Length = January 00

posted Nov 28, 2011, 1:42 AM by Jeb Brooks

Thank you Excel, I didn't know that.

Full Scale Progress

posted Nov 17, 2011, 7:02 PM by Christopher Cotner   [ updated Nov 19, 2011, 3:59 PM by Jeb Brooks ]

The majority of the full-scale has been ordered. We will almost certainly need to order some small things, but we've got the brunt of it down now. The rain of packages has already begun (McMaster-Carr has awesomely fast shipping to here). Now, time to start fabricating the bulkheads and CR's...

Launch of Sub-scale Rocket

posted Nov 17, 2011, 3:47 PM by Jane Hoffswell

On Saturday November 12, I drove into the desert with the majority of the HMC USLI team to attend a rocketry launch and complete the launch of our sub-scale rocket. We departed very early in the morning, and arrived at the site about the time the sun was coming up. It was a bit chilling and there was a tiny amount of rain, but as the day progressed, it ended up being perfect weather for a launch. For the first launch of the day, the main parachute deployed prematurely at apogee. Upon retrieving the rocket, we checked the flight electronics and made sure that they were programmed to the proper setting. For the second sub-scale launch, we had perfect deployment of the main parachute by the flight electronics, thus verifying the system. At this point, we spent the remainder of the day at the launch watching and participating in some personal launches at the site (unrelated to USLI). Overall, it seemed like a very successful outing.

She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.

posted Nov 9, 2011, 6:57 PM by Jeb Brooks

We have officially finished constructing the subscale rocket. It isn't painted yet but at least it is functional. I am looking forward to seeing it launched this weekend as this will be my first time seeing a rocket launch on this scale. 


posted Oct 31, 2011, 11:28 AM by Tessa Kohl

We are proud to report that we have received a $10,000 grant from the Shanahan Student-Directed Project Fund through Harvey Mudd College! A HUGE thanks to the donors! 

Sub-scale is (sub)complete!

posted Oct 30, 2011, 10:29 PM by Josh Edelman

So we went in to the RDL for another couple of hours tonight and finished up most of the major sub-scale work. We drilled pressure ports for the altimeters in the nosecone and payload bay, made the last piston, strapped everything together, and admired our work. We decided to shorten the piston (thus solving our little hitch) and shorten the shock cord to the nose. So we still have to do that, plus a little wiring and sanding and then we're golden. Only 2 weeks left!

(I apologize for the terrible picture quality; all I had was my iPod...)

1-10 of 19