project info: about our club:

the 2011-2012 project

design and performance evaluation of a scaled subsonic ramjet engine through rocket flight

The Vanderbilt Aerospace Club is competing in the 2011-2012 NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI). In previous years, Vanderbilt has been very interested in conducting novel science experiments through the use of high-powered rocketry. We have established that rocketry is an effective and economical method of simulating high speed, high altitude atmospheric conditions. This year, we look to build off the previous years' achievements and continue to find useful scientific ventures to be explored using rocket flight.

For this year's competition, the team will construct a pair of scaled, sub-sonic ramjet engines which will be mounted externally to the aft-most section of the rocket body. The design of the engines will be perfected through extensive ground-based studies and experiments. To analyze the performance of the engines they will be instrumented with the necessary equipment for thrust and temperature measurements.

The significant challenges include handling and storage of pressurized fuel, initializing and sustaining combustion during the narrow test window, developing an accurate and robust data acquisition system, and ensuring the structural integrity of all the equipment during a 10g launch. In addressing all of these challenges, safety is the number one concern and will always be treated as such.