To infinity and beyond

UBC Rocket-specific Questions

Learn more about what our team does!

Question Answer
Is UBC Rocket literally launching something into space, like NASA? UBC Rocket 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 UBC Rocket do its testing? UBC Rocket has access to the many testing resources at the EDC, including a wind tunnel. It may be a long term project for UBC Rocket 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

Find out more about UBC Rocket's subteams!

Subteam Name Description
Whistler Blackcomb Whistler Blackcomb is UBC Rocket's most ambitious project so far. We are working to send a single-stage liquid fueled rocket to 100km within 3 years as part of the Base 11 space challenge. So far, we have designed, manufactured, pressure and flow tested our first rocket engine on campus, in preparation for a hot fire at a remote location. To support this, we are now in the process of building our DarkStar test stand which will closely model the setup on the flight vehicle and allow testing of the engine in even the most remote locations. Simultaneously, we are developing a regeneratively cooled 3D DMLS printed engine, composite structures for the flight vehicle, communications systems for downlinking and uploading data to the rocket at a 100km apogee, electronics systems for controlling the rocket in flight and an active guidance system to keep our rocket pointed at the stars. We are looking for people who do not shy away from long term challenges, are able to commit a significant amount of time to the team and are self-motivated to complete tasks to extremely ambitious deadlines. Your applying at an exciting time for the Whistler Blackcomb team as we prepare for our first hot fire, an unforgettable experience and one well worth being a part of.
Competition Rocket In the coming year, we will be designing, building, and launching a new rocket that will reach an apogee of 30,000ft at the 2019 Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico. We will be implementing the lessons we learned from our Black Tusk rocket which we launched during the 2018 competition.
Frequent Flyers This project aims at launching smaller low powered rockets throughout the year to test flight-critical components, teach new members the fundamentals of rocketry, and increase UBC Rocket’s community involvement. The programme will commence in early September 2018 and its members will become proficient in all flight-critical aspects of rocket design. This team is ideal for students starting out in engineering who are looking to become intimately familiar with all of UBC Rocket's design, manufacturing and testing processes.
Aerostructures The aerostructures and composites (compostructures) team is responsible for manufacturing the airframe and aerostructure components of the competition rocket. The majority of the rocket structure will be made with composites such as carbon fibre and fibre glass. We will be refining our current vacuum infusion method, completing more destructive testing, and designing an improved fin can. As the competition rocket will reach supersonic speeds, a large simulation and testing effort will be needed to ensure that the rocket doesn’t disintegrated during the launch.
Recovery The recovery team is responsible for ensuring the safety of both the rocket and spectators during its descent. This is usually achieved by separating the rocket at apogee so that parachutes can be released which then slow and control the descent. Recovery team members will focus on the design and implementation of parachutes, rocket separation and parachute release hardware. Simulation of descent trajectory, reducing parachute tangling and analyzing pressure differentials as a function of altitude are just some of the challenges you will face.
Avionics The avionics team is responsible for the creation and testing of all of the flight critical and data collection electronics with the added challenge of getting them to fit in a rocket. This includes using pressure sensors to decide apogee, using radio modules to communicate with a ground station we will create, and even integration of cameras for post launch error analysis (along with getting some sweet shots). If you are interested in electronics and programming, this is the subteam for you!
Payloads The payload team is responsible for producing a deployable 3-unit CubeSat for the competition rocket. The payload is divided into 3 subunits, a parachute descent unit(PDU), a rotor descent unit(RDU), and a scientific payload unit(SPU). The project goal is to develop a power landing payload and a useful SPU. The optional second year project improves on the first year design to allow the system to safely return from space. If you are interested in machining, electrical and programming, this will be a great project for you.
Internals Internals is responsible for ensuring that nothing falls out while the rocket is in flight. The internals team will create a structure that secures the payloads, avionics, and recovery systems to the aerostructure. They will also ensure that the motor doesn’t go through the rest of the rocket during ignition or fall out the back of the rocket at motor burnout. Internals will likely be made from aluminum or composite material. A large focus will be put on making the internal structure easy to assemble and integrate into the rest of the rocket.
Administration The admin team is responsible for managing the team’s finances, social media accounts, and corporate sponsor relationships while planning external and internal events. Duties include but are not limited to reimbursements, sponsorships, communicating with APSC Finance, budgeting, managing the competition registration process, creating and/or seeking outreach opportunities, and preparing social media posts.

Joining Instructions

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