Events Updates: T Minus One Month

This year was been a year full of growth for the UBC Rocket team. Being invited to attend and present at events to the public has allowed us to develop and expand our connections, but also the public's interest in the STEM fields and space exploration. Below are a few events that we've participated in so far!

APEBBC EG Fest, held on March 11

This past March, we were fortunate enough to be invited out to APEG BC’s Annual Engineering and Geoscience festival. This one day event was held in Vancouver Public Library (VPL) on March 12, 2017 to extend public knowledge of our profession and to celebrate of National Engineering and Geoscience Month.

Thousands of people passed through VPL promenade that day to learn more about the different booths, demonstrations and exhibitions present. Needless to say, there was never a shortage of people at our booth all day long.

As UBC’s only rocketry team building our momentum in our inaugural year, it was awesome to see how our passion in rocketry resonated with fellow Vancouverites. People from various backgrounds and age groups stopped by to learn more about what it takes to build a rocket and how we are doing it. In particular, many people found interest in our manufacturing techniques: carbon fibre for the rocket body, 3D printing for the nose cone and other methods for internal components.

We really enjoyed connecting with the community beyond the UBC campus and it was great to see the interest in engineering and rocketry. Thank you once again to APEG BC for inviting us out and we hope to see all of you again soon!

If you have any community events that you think may suit us, please feel free to reach out and let us know at

photo One of our members presenting at the EG Fest - via our link on Twitter.

Critical Design Review, held on March 12

A Critical Design Review (CDR) is a technical progress review of our system to ensure that performance requirements are met within cost, schedule and risk. This past March, we held our first CDR in preparation for our competition, Spaceport America Cup 2017, in June.

This year, we were pleased to host some of our sponsors and community supports as CDR panelists. These industry professionals came out on their own time to come out and support UBC Rocket; some even travelled all the way from Victoria to make it out on a Sunday morning! Big thank you to Lockheed Martin, Urthecast, and UBC Mechanical Engineering!

We gained many valuable lessons throughout the process. Ever since the official team formation at the beginning of the 2016/2017 academic year, this was the first time all our subteams sat down together to integrate our efforts to prepare for a single purpose. With a goal in mind, the CDR helped get the entire team on the same page in having the big picture in mind.

We timed the CDR so that it was between our design and manufacturing phase. This was extremely beneficial because we could still easily change and improve our design without wasting resources. Moreover, the valuable technical feedback that we received is already being actively integrated into our design revisions and manufacturing.

Outside of engineering details, we also learned important and necessary engineering soft skills. Writing the technical preparation document gave us a chance to practice writing up technical information concisely and in a readable format. Additionally, team members were able to show off their technical presentation skills in front of a panel of experts.

Overall, the CDR taught us many important engineering lessons that we will continue improve on. It was also great to finally be able to connect with our sponsors and community supporters in person beyond just emails and phone calls. Most importantly, our team would not be able to follow our passion and do what we love to do without our amazing sponsors. They truly empowering the next generation of engineers and giving us the opportunity to build our engineering skillsets.

Thank you once again to those who came out to CDR and our sponsors and community partners for your continuous support! We will continue to work hard in completing our rocket in the coming few weeks.

photo Tirth, our Recovery lead, explaining his team’s components to the panel.

Okanagan Drop Test

After manufacturing some of our design, it was time to put it to the test!

Two weeks ago, we took a short section of our rocket to test the recovery deployment mechanism in the Okanagan where we could get an open area, large drop and safe environment away from people and buildings.

In this test, the key performance indicators were if the parachute mechanism deployed properly, if the parachute inflated properly and if our observations matched our previously determined coefficient of drag.

We did five drops off a trestle and had a camera set up far in the distance to observe the drop. Inside our prototyped, we had our parachute packed inside alongside black powder that we ignited to separate a cap to pull out the parachute.

At this test, we qualified our rocket parachute deployment system almost fully with 100% success. It was super exciting to see our parachute deploy! Previously we tested our parachute in the wind tunnel on campus to get an preliminary coefficient of drag. This time around, we were able to confirm that the coefficient of drag on one of our four parachutes. The next drop test, we are confident that we can confirm the coefficient of drag for all our parachutes.

Thank you for taking the time to keep up with our progress!