Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Princeton SpaceShot: Design \& Construction of a High Performance Two Stage Sounding Rocket
Authors: Merchant, Coleman
Advisors: Martinelli, Luigi
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: Rockets have always been inordinately expensive: orbital rockets cost on the order of billions of dollars, and even NASA’s low-cost sounding rocket research vehicles are in the millions. However, with advances in composite materials, fabrication and electronic control/measurement systems, the field of rocketry is far more accessible than it has ever been: There is the possibility for comparatively small but optimized flight vehicles to reach the boundary of space located at 100 km (375,000 ft), referred to as the Karman Line. To demonstrate the efficacy of the technologies and techniques required to do this, a a two-stage solid fuel sounding rocket weighing only around 50 lbs and capable of reaching over 125 km at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5.8 will be designed, built and tested. A prior iteration of the vehicle was tested in May of 2018, but only achieved 50,000 feet and Mach 2.8 due to a lack of ignition of the second stage; however, the majority of the subsystems performed well. The following research focuses on further optimizing the vehicle while also addressing issues found in both the construction and flight testing of the previous year. The scope of this Thesis project is the complete design and construction of two flight ready vehicles capable of surpassing the Karman line, to be flight tested at SpacePort America in New Mexico in May of 2019. If successful, this vehicle will both be the first student-built rocket to reach space, and the smallest and lightest rocket (impulse and mass, respectively) ever. Overall, the project aims to show that a resolute focus on efficiency in vehicle design not only can allow for unprecedented performance to be achieved with incredibly small rocket vehicles, but that it is also the simplest, quickest and most inexpensive route to reaching space.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2019

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
MERCHANT-COLEMAN-THESIS.pdf41.7 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.