The separation mechanism of our Bella Lui 2 rocket, made by one of our students, has been selected to participate in the European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium, organized by ESA.
The EPFL Rocket Team builds rockets that are designed entirely by students and this is precisely what allows our members to become talented and qualified engineers. This year, one of them pushed a new limit by designing an innovative separation mechanism.
Separation mechanism: explanation
This device is used to separate the rocket into two parts after reaching its maximum altitude and release the parachute that will help it return safely to the ground. This mechanism is then critical as it ensures the proper deployment of the parachutes and preserves the rocket so that it can be flown several times. This is the main reason why it must be ensured that the mechanism works perfectly.
How was it created?
This separation mechanism was created by Erik Uythoven, one of our members, as part of a semester project at EPFL, proposed by the EPFL Rocket Team. The goal : design a new, safer and more practical separation mechanism that would allow large parachutes to pass through.
The mechanism itself is rather simple: a clamp band held together with a loop of rope that has a low melting point is heated via a resistive wire, allowing the two parts of the rocket to separate in less than two seconds. This working principle makes it a clean and elegant solution as it uses no pyrotechnics.
Yet it is remarkable and that is why it has been selected to be presented at the European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium, organized by ESA. We would like to congratulate Erik for his approach and for the work he has done.