To infinity and beyond

UBCRocket-specific Questions

Learn more about what our team does!

Question Answer
Is UBCRocket literally launching something into space, like NASA? UBCRocket is designing and launching what’s known as a sounding rocket. Sounding rockets, such as Blue Origin's New Shepard, are suborbital - they go straight up and down, unlike the ISS or space shuttle which enter orbit.
Where does UBCRocket do its testing? UBCRocket has access to the many testing resources at the EDC, including a wind tunnel. It may be a long term project for UBCRocket to develop a dedicated propulsion testing facility.
Where will our rockets launch? The 2017 Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), held in June in New Mexico, is likely the only place we will be able to launch our fully completed rocket. There will be test launches of different subcomponents on smaller scale rockets in the lower mainland area, but no specific locations have been selected yet.

General Rocket Questions

Know nothing about rockets? Not to worry, here are some answers for your questions!

Question Answer
What is the purpose of a rocket launch? As with all rockets, there's no fundamental purpose to going up and down. More generally, any rocket, orbital or suborbital, has the purpose of accelerating a payload to somewhere high and/or fast. Thus, the purpose is dependent on the payload. Our team like to maximize the usefulness of the rocket by considering as many payload options as possible, as well as enable multiple payloads to be attached.
What are sounding rockets, and what is their purpose? Sounding rockets are suborbital - they go straight up and down, unlike the ISS or space shuttle which enter orbit. The purpose of a sounding rocket is to carry a payload to the upper atmosphere, where the payload can then do whatever it was designed to do.
What is a payload and what does it usually consist of? The payload of a rocket is whatever the rocket is taking up with it. It could be anything - a paper airplane, a scientific experiment, or even fireworks! Click here to learn more.
What are suborbital payloads generally useful for? Most suborbital payloads are studying some effects of microgravity or properties of the upper atmosphere or testing some components in a launch environment.
What is an apogee? Apogee is the term referring to the point when the rocket is furthest from the ground. This is also when the rocket has zero vertical velocity, and typically when the first recovery event occurs.
What is the recovery phase in the context of rockets? Since we spend so much time building the rocket and the payload in it, we would like to have the rocket come down in as controlled and safe a manner as possible. For this, parachutes are typically used, and this process is known as recovery. Click here to learn more.
What powers the rocket? We will be using a high powered solid fuel rocket for our first year at competition. In the future, we will be developing our own hybrid propulsion system or liquid propulsion system.
How will we control the rocket? Our rocket must be designed to be aerodynamically stable, so it requires no active flight controls during ascent. A flight computer of our own design, or one that we purchased, will be used to detect when the rocket reaches apogee and control the recovery events.

Subteam Information

UBCRocket consists of three main subteams, each responsible for an element of the rocket's design. With their own design goals, all subteams collectively work towards the ultimate team goal of fielding a competitive rocket to compete in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition.

Subteam Name Responsibilities/Design Scope Related Interests
  • Analyze aerodynamic and propulsive forces acting on rocket
  • Design and build main rocket body
  • Select and integrate propulsion system into rocket
  • Aerodynamics
  • Hands-on testing
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Design and build the systems and components to safely separate the rocket at apogee, return the rocket safely to the ground, collect flight data, and track the rocket
  • Use microcontrollers, sensors, and communications devices to enable the rocket to accurately detect it’s attitude and altitude, as well as give ground operators live or stored data from the entirety of the flight
  • Develop software/equipment to analyze collected flight data
  • Work with off-the-shelf electronics and explosive deployment systems, as well as recovery components (ie. parachutes)
  • Modifying, hacking, programming OTS (off-the-shelf/purchased) electronics
  • Data analysis
  • Signals and communications
  • Create/acquire and integrate payload(s) to be flown on competition rocket
  • Formulate ideas for payload developement and attachment; few rules exist regarding payloads
  • Analyze plausibility and benefits of generating and securing multiple payloads
  • Liaise with third-party organizations who wish to attach their payloads to our rocket
  • Creativity
  • External communication
  • Materials
  • Mechanical systems
  • Electrical design

Joining Instructions

Fantastic! You're interested in becoming a member of UBCRocket! What now?

Send an email to Tell us why you're interested and what you can bring to the team (be it prior design experience, or just pure enthusiasm for rockets!!)