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Structure

What we do:

A rocket has many complex components and sensitive equipment. If some of these components fail, the structural integrity of the entire rocket comes into question. Therefore, appropriate R&D techniques must be implemented to successfully develop reliable components. We achieve these requirements by designing and building parts for the rocket so that they are structurally stable and fail-safe. We also develop small components that are needed to hold parts and components together, e.g. connectors. But it does not stop there: The launch pad is a very important external part of the rocket that contains a special design needed for the launch.

How do we do it

In order to successfully develop a specific component, a state-of-the-art CAD program is required. That is why we are working on a highly sophisticated program called NX, which was provided to us by Siemens and was developed specifically for this purpose, guaranteeing us a reliable and precise design. We also carry out measurements of specific components such as weight, density and other important calculations, and NX enables us to do just that. It allows us to extract precise measurements that we use not only to further complete the design, but also for testing purposes.

Each of the rocket's structural components must be thoroughly checked and tested in a simulation. For this purpose, we use a finite element method program (FEMP), which provides us with precise data that allow us to determine the behavior of the rocket in specific environments and phases. This is very important because during the pre-start phase and especially during the flight phase the behavior of the rocket and its components is not constant. Therefore a constant and detailed monitoring of the behaviour of the structure is essential. Since the launch is not repeatable in real life, we have to perform extensive investigations and simulations on site to determine exactly how each individual part of the structure behaves during each flight phase.

Another important step in the design of the structure is to ensure that all components stick together during flight and that the failure of the structure does not lead to loss of control of the entire rocket. In order to allow us and other teams testing the entire rocket to be successful, certain calculations must be performed by us. For example: weight optimization and calculations are required to obtain a safe center of gravity (CG). These calculations are performed not only for structure-specific components, but also for all rocket components, so that they are easily accessible in situations of rapid change.

Components we use

Our goal

Our goal is to design and build reliable and robust structural components that will enable the rocket to carry out its mission safely and reach its target altitude. However, this is not our only goal: As already mentioned, we try to provide other teams with as much accurate and reliable data as possible, which they can later use to complete the rocket. Therefore we stay in close contact with all ASTG teams and members, because their satisfaction is our satisfaction as well.