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Title: Design, Development, and Launch of a Canard-Controlled Rocket
Authors: Chin, Douglas
Advisors: Littman, Michael
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: Control systems for high-performance amateur and student rockets are currently in their infancy, despite the ubiquity of such systems in professional applications, as a result of their high complexity. A control system capable of guiding an amateur rocket during its atmospheric boost and coast phases will be necessary for future teams attempting orbital launches. The typical design of an amateur rocket is not conducive to thrust vector, jet vane, or aft fin control, leaving canards as the most effective and highest performance control method. In this project, a mid-power demonstrator canard-controlled rocket was designed, built, and flown. The avionics and actuation systems necessary for canard control were designed and integrated into a mostly standard amateur rocket. A custom flight computer was designed, and software was written to calculate the vehicle’s state during flight and command its canards using a gain-scheduled linear state feedback controller. A six-degree-of-freedom simulator was written to evaluate the expected flight performance of the vehicle. The vehicle had a successful flight to about 300 ft, controlling its attitude and redirecting its trajectory from an initial 25 degree angle towards vertical, with its observed flight path matching simulated results. The project's success provides a blueprint with which high-performance rocket control systems can be rapidly built by unprecedentedly small teams or even a single person.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2021

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