NORDEND - COMPETITION
Nordend marks the culmination of Hyperion’s initial research phase by carrying the first-generation bi-liquid engine designed by the student association. It will be launched at EuRoC 2023 (European Rocketry Challenge) in Portugal, aiming to recapture the association’s European championship title, with a target apogee of 3,000 meters.
Nordend’s payload will study the behavior of plasma-activated water in a microgravity environment. The goal of this experiment is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing disinfectant in space.
Nordend is designed around an internal structure that offers high durability, excellent accessibility, and exceptional modularity. It relies on the use of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) rods combined with aluminum rings surrounded by panels tailored to the needs of each subsystem (such as plain panels, antennas, or fins).
Its unified screw coupling system ensures a proven, fast, and reliable mechanical connection. Some couplers also integrate structural sensors that enable real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s integrity.
Its coaxial tanks, made of aluminum, are designed to contain its propellants at a pressure of 40 bars. Innovatively, Nordend features a removable internal fuel tank, making refueling operations more straightforward.
To attach the vehicle to the launch rail, a retractable attachment system is integrated, reducing aerodynamic drag during flight.
This vehicle is one of the most high-performance designs by the Structure subsystem, with a limited mass of 17.8 kg and a length of 3.69 meters.
To ensure that the rocket reaches the ground safely and without damage, a new reefing system has been developed. Instead of using two parachutes, only one is used with a regulated canopy.
At the bottom of the parachute, a dyneema cord is passed through multiple rings to prevent it from fully deploying. The parachute is deployed at apogee, around 3000m, and slows the rocket to 27m/s.
At 400m, this cord is cut using a nichrome system to fully deploy the parachute and slow down the rocket to 6 m/s for the touchdown.
A2, the team’s first flight-worthy bi-liquid engine, is slated to propel Nordend to its 3km apogee. The engine runs on a mixture of nitrous oxide and 90% ethanol, with an additive (TEOS) that helps to keep the temperature low. The engine is not actively cooled; instead, it employs a variety of mechanisms, including Ablative cooling, film cooling, TEOS, and a full graphite nozzle that can endure extremely high temperatures while remaining lightweight.
The propellant injection is done with a pintle injector configuration; the fuel enters the combustion chamber axially, while the oxidizer is ejected radially from the center pintle feature, causing the two liquids to collide and mix thoroughly.
Similarly to a COTS solid rocket motor, the injector and nozzle screw themselves into the combustion chamber. Metallic seals are used instead of O-rings because they can withstand extremely high temperatures without degrading.