The aerodynamics team's areas of responsibility are the exterior geometry paired with the control elements for active altitude control, their surfaces and materials, and the resulting aerodynamic stability. The developed parts are optimized in terms of aerodynamics, mass, functionality, and manufacturability. Besides, we try to apply the most modern manufacturing methods available to us.
During the entire development process from the concept, followed by the design to the actual construction, CAE is applied in the form of CAD, CFD, and MATLAB simulations. Furthermore, we examine the applicability of generative design to find optimized shapes for fins and nose cones.
By the summer of 2020, different airbrake concepts have been designed, two of which are being implemented and continuously developed for the prototype rocket.
Another part of our work is the integration of a 360-degree camera system into the nose cone of the rocket to document the flight.
People with an interest in CAD, additive manufacturing including generative design, CFD, MATLAB, tinkerers, and hobbyists - Buzzword "Curiosity" - are in good hands with us and welcome at any time.
Airbrakes are mechanical systems that may be actuated after the engine cut-off to decelerate by increasing the air resistance, e.g. by radially extending baffle stones, to achieve a targeted apogee.
There is a multitude of technical challenges:
- The time between engine cut-off and the targeted apogee is only a few seconds long
- The positioning of the airbrake as well as the alignment and arrangement of the flaps to not endanger the stability of the rocket itself
- Minimizing mass with maximum strength to ensure efficiency
- Solutions for adjacent systems, such as a central fuel line, with possible positioning between engine and tank
- Maximizing the area of the flap
The geometry of the nose cone and the fins, as well as the general, external shape, are determined. Where we rely on simulations, which are supported by measurements in the wind tunnel. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the airbrakes in the wind tunnel will be determined by force measurements.
But there are numerous challenges:
- Compensation of openings in the outer skin or possible, minimally protruding camera lenses
- Weight and flow optimization to ensure efficiency
- Scaling and estimation of tests in the wind tunnel at significantly lower speeds
- Preventing or minimizing rotation during flight
- Durable paints and surface treatments for speeds above Mach 0.5
- Vibrations and their consequences on the camera system
- Analyse problems, externally mounted elements, such as an antenna