Request For Proposal (RFP)
In August 2017 a group of twelve hard working and accomplished engineers came together and formed the 2017-2018 Navy Rockets team. They came from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life, but what they had in common was a passion for rocketry. The team assigned roles to each team member based on individual strengths and decided as a whole to pursue to deployable rover option for the NASA Student Launch competition. Next, they started to draft their Request for Proposal (RFP) and discuss the concept of operations for the rocket. In the meantime, the team built and launched model rockets to test and evaluate a variety of recovery systems.
A model rocket built by Navy Rockets moments before liftoff.
Members of Navy Rockets and Team Advisor LCDR Temkin (far left) gathered at the launch site located at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
Upon NASA approval of their Request for Proposal, the team began working on their Preliminary Design Review report and presentation. The team devoted many long hours and late nights to drafting and revising the report in order to articulate their concepts and designs as clearly and accurately as possible. The team rehearsed their presentation several times before presenting to NASA via teleconference. The NASA review board was overall very pleased with the team's presentation.
Several Navy Rockets team members work on the Preliminary Design Review in the team's computer lab located at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
A concept drawing of the rocket depicted on a chalkboard in the team's computer lab during the Preliminary Design Review phase.
1st Sub-Scale Launch (November 18th 2017)
The first sub-scale launch performed by Navy Rockets occurred at a Maryland Delaware Rocketry Association (MDRA) site located in Church Hill, Maryland. The rocket successfully launched and reached apogee; however, there were some complications. The lower section recovery system did not completely exit the lower recovery section of the rocket due to insufficient amounts of black powder and too much friction caused by an oversized Nomex sheet. This caused the lower section to descend on only its drogue chute because the main parachute did not deploy. The main parachute failing to deploy resulted in some minor structural damage to the rocket. Additionally, the rover team discovered that they were unable to communicate with the payload electronics due to the carbon fiber body tube acting as a Faraday cage. The upper section of the rocket was recovered successfully with no damage incident upon landing. Through these difficulties, the team learned some very valuable lessons and continues to see this launch as a learning opportunity.
Several members of the team prepare their first sub-scale rocket for flight.
The lower section of the rocket shortly after being recovered by Team Lead Zach Lewis.
2nd Sub-Scale Launch (December 2nd 2017)
On December 2nd, 2017 the team performed their first successful launch and recovery of their sub-scale rocket! With this milestone complete the team satisfied a major preliminary requirement for their upcoming Critical Design Review (CDR). Unlike the first sub-scale flight, the payload team was able to communicate with the payload electronics throughout the duration of the flight with the addition of a new fiberglass body tube section. The recovery complications experienced in the first sub-scale flight did not occur in the second sub-scale flight as both the lower and upper recovery systems were deployed from their respective recovery sections at apogee. The team was very happy to see their hard work pay off!
Team Lead Zach Lewis and Chief Engineer Ryan Mariano at the launch controls.
Navy Rocket's 2nd sub-scale rocket (Cecelia 2) shortly after liftoff.
Critical Design Review (CDR)
Shortly after their successful 2nd sub-scale flight the team started working on their Critical Design Review (CDR) report and presentation. Although the teleconference presentation of the CDR was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, the team took advantage of this opportunity as extra time to practice their presentation. As a result, when the team presented on January 31st, 2018 everything went very smoothly and NASA was very impressed with the team's performance!
The team poses for a quick photo in the midst of preparing for their Critical Design Review Presentation.
Rover Specialist Jose Medina presents his portion of the Critical Design Review Presentation during a team rehearsal.
1st Full-Scale Launch (February 17th 2018)
The team woke up bright and early on a Saturday morning to launch their full-scale rocket for the first time! In the midst of the freezing cold the team was invigorated by camaraderie (and hot coffee) to prepare their rocket for flight. Although the deployable rover was not completely operational, the team performed a successful flight and recovery of their rocket! With this successful launch and recovery the team is evermore confident they will perform well at the upcoming NASA Student Launch Competition!
Chief Engineer Ryan Mariano and Structures Specialist Zach Moore prepare the rocket (Cecelia 3) for flight.
Navy Rockets with their full-scale rocket shortly before liftoff.
Launch Week (April 2018)
In April 2018 the team will travel to Huntsville, Alabama to compete in the NASA Student Launch Competition. They will compete against colleges and universities from all around the United States. This is the culminating event for Navy Rockets and everyone on the team is working very hard to prepare!
Navy Rockets 2016-2017 Team at the NASA Student Launch Competition (April 2017)