SEDS UCSD Launches Rocket Powered by 3-D Printed Engine

CampusNews

Image courtesy of SEDS.

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UCSD’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS UCSD) launched a rocket powered by a completely 3-D printed engine, making them the first student group to do so.

“This sort of technology has really come to fruition in the last few years. This is proof of concept that if students at the undergraduate level could drive down the costs of building these engines, we could actually fly rockets and send up payload that is cheaper and more efficient,” said Darren Charrier, the group’s incoming president.

The rocket, dubbed the Vulcan-1, was a two year project with over 60 student engineers. SEDS launched the rocket on May 21 at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) site in the Mojave Desert in heavy winds. Members estimate that the Vulcan-1 reached approximately 4000 feet before returning to earth.

After a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $21,000, SEDS UCSD tried to launch in June 2015 at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), hosted by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) in Utah. However, the group ultimately had to scrub the launch when the cold flow test, an attempt to simulate the launch, failed.

“One day, we’d like to see this technology being implemented on large-scale rockets, which means that we could send satellites to provide internet for developing countries, we could mine asteroids, perhaps even go colonize Mars,” Charrier said.Beginning this summer, SEDS UCSD aims to work toward their submission for NASA’s CubeQuest challenge and begin preparations for fabricating their student-designed rocket engine test stand.

Beginning this summer, SEDS UCSD aims to work toward their submission for NASA’s CubeQuest challenge and begin preparations for fabricating their student-designed rocket engine test stand.

 

Heather Dewis is the News Editor for The Triton. She can be reached at news@triton.news

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