The Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group is going where no university has gone before. We aim to successfully launch a rocket to space by 2015 using cutting edge hybrid rocket engine technology. If successful, we would not only be one of the few amateur groups to have ever launched a rocket to space, but we would be the first amateur hybrid in space and set a nearly unbreakable altitude record for amateur rockets at 450,000ft. Building off the success of the Mk. IV motor test campaign in the Spring of 2014, we are hard at work this semester designing and building two new motors: the Mk. IIb – a reboot of an early BURPG design to use for testing new tech – and the Mk. V – the 3000 lb thrust flight motor.
We take a multidisciplinary approach to our design. We have partnered with the Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) from Portland State University in Oregon and the Cornell University Rocket Team (CRT) to take full advantages of the strengths of all three programs. While we work on the propulsion systems and logistics, PSAS is hard at work developing a fully functional flight computer and CRT is working with a few of our team members to develop an active fin stabilization system. Combined we’re a group of about 70 students, from several disciplines, both engineering and non-engineering, working together to make history.
Several things are motivating our efforts. Obviously there is the technical aspect of the project. While most large scale amateur rocketry projects take high power work and scale it up, we take professional level work and scale it down. This gives us the opportunity to break new ground and produce a system that is revolutionary in more ways than one.More importantly however, BURPG provides students at BU with a one-of-a-kind opportunity. We take students, including a considerable amount of freshmen, who have little to no experience doing professional design work and give them the skills and tools necessary to succeed. Through our work these students realize that they can actually do this stuff; they can design and build a space vehicle. This not only helps with job hunting – as many of our members ultimately enter into careers at companies like SpaceX, GE, and Virgin Galactic – but with the self-confidence necessary to be a successful engineer.
From Left to Right: Man, Quasar, Starscraper