The Rocket Competition Team Preparing for IREC

In just a few days, members of the Rocket Competition Team (RCT) will fly to Utah to launch Chronos at IREC. Chronos itself has already been shipped to the destination, and it awaits its excited and eager creators!  After spending a semester discussing, designing, and constructing the rocket, the payload, and the science goal,  the RCT is ready to launch Chronos for the gold.

Chronos stands 91.5″ tall, is 5.5″ in diameter, weighs 32 lbs, and will launch using an L2200 motor. The RCT presents a novel, low-cost system for environmental control in a rocket during normal turbulent flight. Sounding rocket-based experiments are limited by the instruments used and by their resistances to external forces. These forces introduce random errors into the measurements, obfuscate the signal with noise, and are difficult to remove without prior calibration. Chronos was engineered to deal with three of these forces: shock, vibration, and heat–and to reduce their impacts on a sample experiment to be conducted simultaneously. Industrial strength springs below the payload and foam under the instruments address errors due to shock while sorbothane pads between the rocket body and instrumentation reduce vibration.  The system employs the special thermal properties of gallium to manage undesirable heat.

In order to achieve the resolution in the experiment necessary to verify the time dilatory effects of general relativity, the RCT has developed a system to deal with the three most error-inducing factors: shock, vibration, and temperature.

Good luck to all of the members who have worked diligently on Chronos and made it possible to compete in IREC!