Hybrid Rocket

Rocketry is one of the main defining elements of YUAA. Usually, one of our project teams focuses on building a competition rocket. In the past, we have built a successful multistage rocket and several payload rockets. Last year, the Rocket Competition team designed, constructed, and launched their payload-carrying rocket (twice), which was named Ziggy Stardust. The team won 2nd place in the payload category at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) for their biological payload, which was a system inside Ziggy that sampled microbes from the sky while the rocket was in flight.

Evan Haas '19 – the project leader for the Hybrid Rocket team – discusses future plans with the team.

This year, the YUAA Rocket team will be designing, constructing, and launching a hybrid-engine rocket. Evan Haas ’19 is leading the project. Few active aerospace vehicles utilize the solid-fuel motors that YUAA currently relies on for launching payload rockets. While popular amongst hobbyists for their simplicity and reliability, solid motors have several drawbacks. Primarily, once ignited, they cannot be extinguished, which leads to a lack of controllability and severely limits the application of these types of motors.

Hybrid rockets offer several advantages, most notably the ability to throttle, shut off, and reignite. As a result, a hybrid engine allows control of a wider range of launch parameters, including both total and average impulse, as well as motor burn time, which are important for certain sensitive or specialized payloads. The team will develop a hybrid fuel rocket motor, with a solid fuel and liquid oxidizer, which will serve as a benchmark for future rockets and engines.

Ellen Yang '20 sprays Evan's certification rocket with gold paint. The team had a unique artistic approach in glamorizing the rocket named "Tin Can".

Over the last two months, Evan and the team constructed two smaller rockets that were launched as parts of Evan’s National Association of Rocketry L2 certification. Now, the team will be focusing on constructing both their hybrid rocket and the test stand required to safely test the rocket. Overall, the Hybrid Rocket project will provide team members with a deeper knowledge of and hands-on experience with rocketry, propulsion, and engineering design, and will push the boundaries of small-scale motor design, helping YUAA learn about how design characteristics effect the performance and efficiency of such rocket engines.