Join the EPFL Rocket Team

The EPFL Rocket Team is constantly recruiting new members in order to amplify the project.

If you are motivated and looking for a practical experience in addition to your classes, you are welcome to join our passionate family!

You will benefit from:

  • Working on a concrete project similar to the ones you will be engaging in during your career
  • Developing your teamwork and leadership skills
  • Growing your network, meeting new people and making friendships
  • Working with globally renown aeronautical and aerospace companies
  • A great experience to add to your CV

You also have the possibility of participating for credits as part of your Bachelor’s or Master’s project.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to join or if you have any question.

Technical

Making sure everything fits into the rocket as well as coordinating all subsystems.

Skills and sections wanted: All sections; experience in project management

Ensuring the aerodynamics and rigidity of the rocket.

Skills and sections wanted: Mechanical & Material Engineering

Make calculations and simulations to characterize the aerodynamics of the rocket.

Skills and sections wanted: Mechanical Engineering, Physics; CFD basics

Developing and testing a hybrid engine as well as the ground support equipment (GSE) for the Spaceport America Cup 2020 in the 10k feet SRAD (Student Research And Development) hybrid category.

Skills and sections wanted: Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical and Material Engineering, Electronics; essential bases of programming

Slowing down the rocket to ensure a secure landing.

Skills and sections wanted: Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Microengineering (Microtechnique)

The Avionics enable the rocket to know and send information about the rocket to the ground (position, speed, acceleration…) and control the Airbrakes accordingly. The Airbrakes help the rocket to reach a specific altitude by slowing it down thus increasing drag.

Skills and sections wanted: Mechanical & Material Engineering, Microengineering (Microtechnique), Physics, Electronics, SysCom, Computer Science; bases of programming

Designing and producing a scientific experiment which will be expelled from the rocket at the apogee. For example, we have designed a muon detector and a damping experiment with non-Newtonian fluids.

Skills and sections wanted: All sections; bases in programming

Receiving information from the rocket and displaying it. Working on a system to improve the localisation of the rocket from the ground with cameras.

Skills and sections wanted: Mechanical Engineering, Microengineering (Microtechnique), Physics, Electronics, SysCom, Computer Science; bases of programming

Developing flight simulators specific to our rockets and testing the resistance of different parts.

Skills and sections wanted: Microengineering (Microtechnique), Physics, Electronics, SysCom, Computer Science; bases of programming

Management

Managing all the communication of EPFL Rocket Team, inside the EPFL Campus but also outside with news outlets. Actively creating and sharing content on our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube…) as well as our website. Finding and organising events where the team can present all of its achievements

Skills and sections wanted: All sections; mastery of Microsoft Office suite, Adobe suite, WordPress, social media as well as fluency in both French and English

Finding new sponsors to help grow the project as well as managing relations with our current sponsors.

Skills and sections wanted: All sections; experience in project management

Managing the logistics (transport, food, accommodation…) for all events EPFL Rocket Team takes part in; such as the Spaceport America Cup in June, launches in Switzerland and Poland all year long.

Skills and sections wanted: All sections; fluency in French and English

Semester Projects

Structure

Project Description:

The goal of this project is to redesign the nose cone of the rocket to adapt it for supersonic flight.

The current nose cone is made out of flax composite fiber and power ribs. It is pictured right to give an idea of the current design. The two parts shown are the actual nose cone and the slide in which is glued on one side to the nose cone and then slides into the CFRP tube portion of the rocket on the other side.

The main tasks for this project include redesigning the shape of the nose cone, ensuring it is structurally sound for the flight (including thermal and FEM analysis) and plan the subsequent tooling for fabrication, which will be done the following semester.

 

Skills needed: 

  • Knowledge in composites
  • Thermal analysis
  • FEM analysis

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: alejandra.plaice@epfl.ch

Professor: Véronique Michaud (LPAC)

Project Description:

The goal of this project is to redesign the fins of the rocket to adapt it for supersonic flight.

The current fins are made out of CNC machined carbon fiber plates.

Some work has previously be done to investigate different fin shapes and behaviors for supersonic flight.

This project will focus on the design and manufacturing of those fins with the goal of using them in the rocket next summer.

The tasks for the project are to set the fins’ shape, ensure that they are structurally sound (through thermal and FEM analysis), while ensuring that the tooling for fabrication is available. The fins will also have to be compatible with the fins module to which the fins will be attached. Pictured is the current module design which is subject to change to adapt to the new rocket.

Skills needed: 

  • Knowledge in composites
  • Thermal analysis
  • FEM analysis

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: alejandra.plaice@epfl.ch

Professor: Véronique Michaud (LPAC)

Project Description:

The project consists in designing a mechanism able to separate the rocket into two parts.

This separation would occur at one of the points that interfaces between 2 modules (rocket sections). The idea is to be able to have the rocket separate at the apogee in order to ensure that there are no shock cord entanglement problems possible, as we currently have with the nose cone during the 2nd recovery event.

The tasks of this project involve designing the mechanism itself, determining where it would be integrated in the rocket. It would have to also have hold during supersonic flight and only separate at the apogee rather than another moment.

Skills needed: 

  • Mechanical design
  • CAD
  • FEM analysis

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: alejandra.plaice@epfl.ch

Professor: Pierre-Alain Mäusli

Project Description:

The goal of this project is to redesign the coupling system used to connect the different modules of the rocket.

The current design is pictured in Figure 1. Unfortunately, this current design is at its limit with the loads experienced by our latest rockets. In the case of supersonic flight these loads will likely be increased, and the current design will no longer be usable.

The tasks that will have to be conducted involve:

  • Redesigning a coupling system to replace the current one
  • Structural analysis
  • Manufacturing optimization

The project’s phases are the following:

  • Literature review
  • Design and Calculations
  • FEM simulations
  • Design freeze
  • Manufacture

Skills needed: 

  • Mechanical design
  • CAD
  • FEM analysis

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: alejandra.plaice@epfl.ch

Professor: Jürg Schiffmann

Avionics

Project Description:

The avionics of the rocket uses a GPS peripheral to detect and send by telemetry its geographical position to the ground segment to recover it efficiently after the landing.

As of today, the avionics has always used COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) antennas for its GPS modules: the next step to make the electronic hardware more SRAD (Student Researched And Developed) would be to take advantage of the Avionics’ available curved surface to design an array of GNSS antennas in the same idea as the already existing flat curved telemetry antennas array. The goal of this semester project is to test the feasibility, design, simulate, produce and test at least an array of 3 curved flat antennas to integrate them to the 2021 ERT rocket.

Tasks: 

  • Study feasibility of such a GNSS antennas array
  • Design + simulate the system
  • Manufacture + test the system

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: gabriel.tornare@epfl.ch

Professor: Anja Skrivervik

Project Description:

The avionics of the rocket uses a GPS peripheral to detect and send by telemetry its geographical position to the ground segment in order to efficiently recover the rocket after the landing. A nominal GPS module is therefore a crucial element for a mission success.

For the 9[km] altitude target, the rocket will have to reach a supersonic speed, a mode for which the GPS has never been tested. The goal of this semester project is to design, build/buy and test a GPS module able to remain nominal during the flight and will not malfunction because of the supersonic phase.

Tasks: 

  • Study the requirements of the GPS module, make a hardware selection or keep the actual GPS peripheral
  • If SRAD (Student Researched and Developed): design + manufacture GPS peripheral
  • Design and carry out tests to qualify the chosen hardware for flight.
  • Ensure the chosen hardware is integrable with the Avionics existing hardware

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: gabriel.tornare@epfl.ch

Professor: Jan Skaloud

Project Description:

The avionics of the rocket uses many different sensors to determine its state, including accelerometers and barometers for direct measurements of acceleration and altitude and we need to understand how the barometer behaves in supersonic regime.

To improve the electronics state estimation, a direct measurement of the rocket’s airspeed would be an additional asset of value to the avionics. A study for a student-made pitot tube would therefore constitute a valuable and plausible solution to improve the rocket’s flight performance. The objective of this project is to design + simulate + characterize a pitot tube as SRAD (Student Researched And Developed) as possible.

Tasks: 

  • CFD modelling + simulation.
  • Characterization of the pitot tube in sub- and supersonic flight.
  • CAD design of the pitot tube.
  • If time remaining: manufacturing + testing of the real hardware in a wind turbine

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: gabriel.tornare@epfl.ch

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

The ERT Avionics subsystem is in charge of computing the state of the rocket thanks to its numerous on-board sensors. The sensors data is first extracted from the sensors then refined to obtain a cleaner state estimation through a Kalman filter. The performances of the Kalman filter depend on a lot of parameters that were not quantified.

Problematic:
Your role is to work on the Avionics’ Kalman filter to characterize its performances.
For that, you shall carry out an exhaustive assessment of the errors of the algorithm by analyzing every part of the process, from the choice of sensors (HW choice) to the definition of the state vector.
As a testing tool, a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) simulator has been designed and coded by the team and is accessible for testing and debugging and can even be improved. Some test flights onboard test rockets will be made to test and qualify the analysis results.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: gabriel.tornare@epfl.ch

Professor: Philippe Müllhaupt

Recovery

Project Description:

The rocket must be recovered safely by deploying a parachute to slow down the rocket before landing. At the rocket team, we would like to develop and fabricate a homemade parachute and that is where you can help us! The parachute must fit given requirements like the drag and the diameter to match a required descending speed. At the end, we would like to test the parachute during a drop test to qualify it for flight and if the job is well done, it will be used for real at the competition!

Tasks: 

  • Learn recovery systems principle and parachute flight dynamics basics, study what has been already been done the previous years
  • Develop a parachute, define the shape, select material and fabrication techniques.
  • Fabricate the parachute.
  • Test and qualify it for flight.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: mathieu.udriot@epfl.ch

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

The rocket must be recovered with a dual event: first a parachute controls the descent from the apogee down to about 400m above ground level, then the rocket must be slowed down more in order to land smoothly on the ground. To trigger those events, we would like to design electronic peripherals embedding PCB. Produce the peripherals, integrate them and adapt them on a host board.

Tasks: 

  • Study the existing student researched and developed (SRAD) rocket avionic
  • Design peripherals for the host board that can trigger pyrotechnical igniters and servo motors for the recovery.
  • Produce them and test them to qualify the electronic for flight.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: mathieu.udriot@epfl.ch

Professor: Alexandre Schmid

Propulsion

Project Description:

At the competition, the rocket must reach 10’000 feet (3048m), propelled by our student-made hybrid rocket engine. For the engine to work, we use a combustion between ABS plastic and N2O. The injector is a part used to spray, atomize and give a specific shape to the N2O flow. The goal of this project is to develop a “swirl injector” that could be used with the new HTPB casted grain and increase the combustion efficiency.

Project’s phases: 

  1. Documentation research and learning what has already been done.
  2. Discussion of design solutions.
  3. Design, Calculations and simulations
  4. Manufacture and cold flow tests (if possible)

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 2

Contact: theophile.balestrini@epfl.ch

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

The grain, currently made out of 3D printed ABS, is the solid fuel that reacts with the oxidizer and creates the combustion gases. Its shape is a cylinder with a central port, where the combustion will occur. The goal of this project is to design a resin casted grain with a circular port and study the influence of the resin and additives used on the combustion process.

Project’s phases: 

  1. Documentation research, learn what has already been done
  2. Discussion of designs solutions
  3. Design, Calculations and simulations
  4. Manufacture and static fire tests (if possible)

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: theophile.balestrini@epfl.ch

Professor: Harm-Anton Klok

Project Description:

The hybrid motor holds a pressurized oxidizer (N2O) in a tank and uses an actuated valve to control its flow through the injector after which stays the grain and where the combustion will occur. The goal of this project is, based on the previous work that has been done, to use the physical model of the engine to design a regulator. This task will be performed by identifying the dynamic between the valve actuation and the measured values: thrust and pressure.

Project’s phases: 

  1. Documentation research, learn what has already been done
  2. Design, Calculations and simulations
  3. hot fire tests during which the system’s identification will be done
  4. Regulator implementation on the control software (if possible)

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: theophile.balestrini@epfl.ch

Professor: Philippe Müllhaupt

Ground Segment

Project Description:

During flight the board computers continuously send data back to the ground through patch antennas. These data packets carry a lot of information that are crucial for mission operation. Not only does the live telemetry data allow us to have immediate feedback, but collecting GPS data upon descent will allow us to recover the rocket on the ground upon its landing. Telemetry data can also allow for highly valuable post-mortem analysis in case of a critical failure in any of the involved systems. We might even try and transmit live video from the payload bay!

In order to establish a radio link with the rocket a directional antenna is needed, that needs to point towards the rocket at all times. This project consists of building a rocket tracking mechanism on top of which the antenna can be mounted.

Additionally, if the precision of the tracker is high enough, one could also use it to get clear and highly valuable video footage during flight.

The goal of this group project would be to design and manufacture a rocket tracking system that would be suited for the previously mentioned tasks. While one student will be in charge of the mechanical implementation of a motorized, high-precision tripod, the other will be implementing different control algorithms, starting from manual and simulation based control, he shall also explore a fully automatic image processing based solution.

For this project, you will work in collaboration with the Ground Segment subsystem and can base your work upon previous work if you wish!

Project’s phases: 

Part 1: Tracker Mechanism

  • Skills you need (or want to learn):
    • CAD (Computer Aided Design)
    • Electronics
  • Tasks:
    • Understand the stability, speed and precision requirements for the tracker and its motors. Research in the literature some design concepts for rocket tracking systems.
    • Design a tracker, order the material needed and manufacture it.
    • Provide for interfaces to allow the Control of the Tracker.
    • Stay in close contact with the Rocket Team and in particular the Ground Segment subsystem.

Part 2: Tracker Control (Taken)

  • Skills you need (or want to learn):
    • Programming in C or C++
    • Computer vision
  • Tracker Control Tasks:
    • Understand the advantages and limitations of the different methods to control the tracker. Research in the literature some algorithms that allow for semi- or fully automatic control of the tracker.
    • Design and build a manual and semi manual (simulation based) control mechanism for the tracker to gain a better understanding of the task.
    • Order necessary material to perform visual tracking and implement a suitable algorithm on a chosen computing platform.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 2

Contact: lucas.pallez@epfl.ch

Professor: Pierre-Alain Mäusli (Part 1) and Pascal Fua (Part 2)

Simulation

Project Description:

At the rocket competition, we want to reach the determined altitude as precisely as possible, while having a stable rocket. This is why we used shuriken airbrakes (see figure on the right), that can influence both the altitude and the stability of the rocket by changing the centre of pressure and the drag of the rocket.

We have already manufactured airbrakes and another project aims at redesigning them, and we need more information on the impact they have on the rocket’s centre of pressure and control depending on multiple factors such as speed of the rocket and atmospheric conditions.

Project’s phases: 

  1. Understanding what research has already be done on the previous airbrakes.
  2. Literature reading, and research to understand more about the airbrakes impact on the rocket (drag, stability…). With the help of the simulation team.
  3. Using what has been learned to implement a more accurate model of the airbrakes on a micro-controller and on our simulator to have a rocket more precise and more stable.
  4. If time allows, testing and verifying the work by performing tests in a wind tunnel with the mechanism.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: antoine.scardigli@epfl.ch 

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

At the rocket competition, we want to reach the determined altitude as precisely as possible, while having a stable rocket. This is why we used shuriken airbrakes (see figure on the right), that can influence both the altitude and the stability by changing the centre of pressure and the drag of the rocket.

We have already manufactured airbrakes for the previous rockets, but they are neither efficient enough nor compatible with the rocket we will launch next year.

Therefore, we need to research, develop, and manufacture a new airbrakes mechanism that will be compatible with our new rocket and integrates the following improvements:

  • Weight reduction while still ensuring structural integrity
  • Assure a better control of the rocket’s centre of pressure and the rocket’s trajectory.
  • Take as little room as possible.

Project’s phases: 

  1. Understanding what research has already be done on the previous airbrakes.
  2. Literature reading and research to understand how to upgrade the mechanism, with the help of simulation team and structures team.
  3. Design and manufacturing of the new airbrakes.
  4. If time allows, testing and qualifying the new airbrakes by performing tests in a wind tunnel and by launching them in real flights.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: antoine.scardigli@epfl.ch 

Professor: Pierre-Alain  Mäusli

Project Description:

For the rocket competition, it is very important to reach as precisely as possible the determined altitude. As in Switzerland we have a very densely used airspace, we cannot do as many flights as we would like, so we cannot be empirical.

We have developed an intern simulator that simulates very precisely the rocket’s flight. This simulator allows us to choose what physical equations simulate the flight. Nevertheless, our simulator is currently very cryptic to be used.
The purpose of this project is to upgrade our simulator so it gets a User Interface. This user-friendly upgrade will allow everybody to use the simulator instead of only a few specialists.

The simulator is in MATLAB, it has already been partially translated in python and given a UI for a simplified simulator with only one degree of freedom.

Possible project’s phases: 

  1. Understanding how the simulator works in MATLAB
  2. Understanding what has already been done in python
  3. Linking between the output of the translated 1D simulator and the IU
  4. Implementing the state of the rocket in 3 dimensions
  5. Adapting already translated classes, or creating classes to have a functional 3D simulator in Python
  6. Comparing the results of the 3D simulator in MATLAB and python
  7. Adapting the IU for the 3D simulator
  8. Developing error handling

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: antoine.scardigli@epfl.ch 

Professor: Pierre Dillenbourg

Aero-structure

Project Description:

For the rocket competition, it is very important to reach as precisely as possible the determined altitude. As in Switzerland we have a very densely used airspace, we cannot do as many flights as we would like, so we cannot be empirical.

We have developed an intern simulator that simulates very precisely the rocket’s flight. But in 2021, the rocket is going to reach a supersonic speed, which is not well considered in our simulator for the moment, although supersonic speed should cause strong modifications in the simulator predictions.

The purpose of this project is to upgrade our 6 degrees of freedom simulator so it can correctly simulate supersonic speeds.

Possible project’s phases: 

  1. Understanding how our current simulator works
  2. Literature reading to handle supersonic speed, and understand his impact on the rocket (drag, stability…)
  3. Implement the modifications in the simulator in MATLAB or python
  4. If finished, the simulator could still be improved by simulating correctly a trans-stratospheric flight via a better modelisation of the atmosphere.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: antoine.scardigli@epfl.ch 

Professor: Philippe Müllhaupt

Aero-structure

Aero-structure

Project Description:

  • Background: The EPFL Rocket Team is an interdisciplinary project and an EPFL association whose goal is to build a rocket and participate in an international competition in the USA. At the competition, the rocket must reach 10’000 feet (3048m) and in the future we will aim to reach 30’000 feet. Such a rocket will need to fly supersonic and as such involves additional complexity. A smaller-scale model rocket could act as a test bench to model supersonic effects before launching a more expensive full-sized rocket.
  • Current state: Some investigation has already been done on a systems engineering side in terms of the sizing of the new full-sized rocket and a scaled version of it. Many different concerns of supersonic flight have been pointed out for aspects of the rocket and would require testing.
  • Input for you: You will get the first simulations performed in OpenRocket for the planned supersonic rocket with changing diameters. You will also receive an excel spreadsheet and a related python script to analyse the impact parameter changes have on the apogee and other aspects of the rocket on a systems engineering side. Finally, you will receive previous semester projects and input from other members of the rocket team of the potential concerns and things to test for in a supersonic regime.

  • Your job: Your work in this project is two-fold. First, you will have to create a model scale of the supersonic rocket that will be built in the future. The rocket should be small and light enough to be launched using a level 1 certification motor. The test rocket should be geometrically similar to the supersonic rocket and fly at a high enough speed to test Mach effects. Ideally, the rocket should be rather robust and potentially survive catastrophic test conditions. Second, you will need to create test procedures and think of the necessary sensors and avionics to make the rocket useful. This rocket should be able to quantify and obtain meaningful data that will help in the design of the full-size rocket. This project is not an easy task! To recap, your tasks are:
    • Learn to use a systems engineering software for rockets, namely OpenRocket.
    • Go over the previous work done regarding the supersonic rocket and potential scaling.
    • Design and build a model of the full-size rocket:
      • The rocket shall be geometrically similar to the full-size one
      • The rocket shall fly at a high enough speed to test Mach effects
      • The rocket shall be easily modifiable to perform a variety of meaningful tests
      • The rocket should ideally be cheap enough to build a replacement in the event of failure
      • The rocket should ideally be rather robust and potentially survive stressful or catastrophic test conditions
    • Develop and design test procedures and sensors to obtain meaningful data from the rocket. Ideas include:
      • Testing structural loads on the rocket fuselage and fins using strain gauges
      • Test heating of the rocket at high speeds using thermocouples
      • Test the pitch-roll coupling of a slender rocket using an IMU, possibly by intentionally inducing roll with tilted fins
      • Characterize drag characteristics by looking at the flight profile and altitude
    • Develop a well-rounded understanding of the aerodynamic and structural implications of a variety of design decisions on a supersonic rocket.
    • Work closely with other members of the aerostructure team to test their work on the effects of diameter changes, boat tail designs and roll control systems.

 

Note that this is a team project. You are expected to communicate the progress of your work to the other team members each week. At the end, your results shall be well documented such that other people can use or continue your work.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 2-3 students. Ideally from different background (i.e. mechanical engineering and electrical engineering)

Contact: joshua.cayetano@epfl.ch

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

  • Background: The EPFL Rocket Team is an interdisciplinary project and an association whose goal is to build a rocket and participate in an international competition in the USA. At the competition, the rocket must reach 10’000 feet (3048m) and in the future we will aim to reach 30’000 feet. To help in achieving this goal, a fuselage with changing diameters is being considered.
  • Current state: Some investigation has already been done into a fuselage of changing diameters on a systems engineering side. Preliminary results and simulations seem to indicate that it would help in achieving the target altitude of 30’000 feet, but the exact aerodynamics characterization of this design decision has not been done yet.
  • Input for you: You will get the first simulations performed in OpenRocket for rockets with changing diameters. You will also receive an excel spreadsheet and a related python script to analyse the impact of diameter changes on the apogee and other aspects of the rocket on a systems engineering side.

  • Your job: You work should be to properly characterize the aerodynamic impact of a diameter change in the fuselage of the rocket. You should develop a well-rounded understanding on how the introduced diameter changes in the flow could potentially lead to shock waves or affect other parts of the rocket such as the fins or the boat tail. Simulations should be performed in OpenRocket and should allow you to quantify the influence of the diameter on the drag. From this, you should come to a decision regarding the best choice of dimensions for the fuselage in consultation with the systems engineering team. To recap, your tasks are:
    • Learn to use a systems engineering software for rockets, namely OpenRocket.
    • Go over the previous work done regarding diameter changes of the fuselage.
    • Develop a well-rounded understanding of the aerodynamic and even structural implications of a change of diameter of the fuselage.
    • Quantify the influence of the diameter on the drag.
    • Consider aspects of the rocket such as the boat tail design, and overall convex shape.
    • Arrive to a design decision regarding the best choice of dimensions for the fuselage.
    • Work closely with other members of the aerostructure team to study the effect of diameter changes and boat tail designs on the full aerodynamics and computational simulations (CFD) of the rocket.

 

Note that this is a team project. You are expected to communicate the progress of your work to the other team members each week. At the end, your results shall be well documented such that other people can use or continue your work.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1/2

Contact: joshua.cayetano@epfl.ch

Professor: Flavio Noca

Project Description:

  • Background: The EPFL Rocket Team is an interdisciplinary project and an association whose goal is to build a rocket and participate in an international competition in the USA. At the competition, the rocket must reach 10’000 feet (3’048m) and in the future we will aim to reach 30’000 feet. To help in achieving this goal, a rather long and slender rocket might be necessary. Unfortunately, such rockets typically have stability issues in the form of pitch and roll motion coupling.
  • Some preliminary dimensioning has been done for the rocket and it seems to indicate that a rather slender shape will be necessary to achieve the target apogee of 30,000 feet. Discussions with experts and some research seems to indicate that such rockets are rather unstable, and the possibility of inertial coupling is a very real one.
  • Input for you: You will get a rough estimate of the planned dimensions of the rocket and a flight profile.
  • Your job: Your work should be to properly under and characterize the probability of inertial coupling to happen. You should also characterize the potential dangers of such a coupling and any potential mitigation strategies or design changes that can be made to avoid this. At the end of your project, you should have a physical and mathematical model characterizing how pitch-roll coupling happens in a slender rocket. To recap, your tasks are:
    • Research or develop a physical and mathematical model for the pitch-roll coupling in a slender rocket.
    • Characterize the potential dangers of such an inertial coupling.
    • Propose and adopt mitigation strategies or design changes to the rocket to avoid the negative effects of inertial coupling.

Note that this is a team project. You are expected to communicate the progress of your work to the other team members each week. At the end, your results shall be well documented such that other people can use or continue your work.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 1

Contact: joshua.cayetano@epfl.ch

Professor: Philippe Müllhaupt

Environment

Project Description:

As sustainability becomes a more and more important topic, also within engineering project, we would like to assess the life cycle of our rockets and understand the environmental impact of the whole project. Everything must be looked at, from design, fabrication processes and launches to external activities like transportation and logistics. If we understand where most of the pollution or wasting is generated from, we can take decisions on future development to limit those and work toward a more environmentally sustainable interdisciplinary project.

Tasks: 

  • Have a look at the life cycle of a rocket, understand the activities of the Rocket Team and prepare for its evaluation from an environmental point of view.
  • Analyze the environmental impact of the project in all its activities and compile them.
  • Suggest ways to improve the project’s footprint.

Timeframe: Fall 2020

Number of participants: 2-3 students

Contact: mathieu.udriot@epfl.ch 

Professor: Jérôme Payet