P18102: RIT Launch Initiative Hybrid Rocket
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Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The goal of this phase is to communicate with RIT Launch and RIT EHS to identify what requirements the engine design must meet to be usable from both stakeholders point of view. With RIT Launch, we worked to identify exactly what performance metrics the engine needed to meet, as well as what functions the engine itself needs to perform and what functions the rocket will perform. By further discussing what the integration might look like, we were able to identify additional functions of the engine. Likewise, we began discussion with RIT EHS to what we will need to do to safely test fire the rocket. The end result was an in-depth project requirements document that maps out our over-arching project requirements to our engine and test stand requirements and subsystem requirements. The subsystem requirements will then be able to directly drive the design of each subsystem.

Project Summary

A hybrid rocket engine is a device that is used to propel an object, generally a rocket, to a user specified point in the atmosphere. The engine can achieve this by converting the chemical energy of the propellants into thermal energy, and ultimately converting that into mechanical energy that imparts a change in momentum on the rocket. The hybrid engine differs from other engines because of the fact it uses a liquid oxidizer, with a separate solid fuel. Separating the fuels makes it inherently safer to store and operate than a traditional liquid or solid motor. These engines have been successfully launched in the past, but each for a very specific and distinct mission.

The purpose of this project is to build a custom hybrid engine for RIT Launch Initiative to launch a rocket to 30,000 feet at the 2019 Intercollegiate Rocketry and Engineering Competition (IREC). The engine will be throttleable and equipped with a closed loop control system such that the rocket can reach its target apogee with extreme accuracy. The engine will be designed, modeled, and manufactured from scratch in 1 year. It must be safe to handle, re-usable, high performing, environmentally friendly, and comply with all IREC and government regulations. By year's end, the engine must be ready for a hot static test fire in the bunker on RIT’s campus.

For further information, see the Project Readiness Package.

Use Cases

Main Use Case

Main Use Case

Other Potential Use Scenario:

Engine integrated with Launch Initiative rocket to deliver SPEX payload to orbit

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The main goal of this project is to develop a hybrid rocket engine that can be test fired at RIT and then passed off to RIT Launch to be used in the 2019 IREC Spaceport America Cup. The project will be considered a success if:
  1. A hybrid rocket is designed and built to meet all engineering requirements
  2. Subsystem components are tested to demonstrate functionality of engine
  3. Engine goes through full hotfire to demonstrate functionality of engine and components
  4. Hotfire results in engine thrust profile and other telemetry data
  5. Full documentation of the engine performance and specifications is passed off to RIT Launch
  6. All RIT EHS requirements are met and incorporated into the use procedures

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer requirements have been created from the project proposal, the IREC requirements document, and discussions with launch members. The main customer requirements live in the "Level 1: Project" Tab of the "Project Requirements" spreadsheet. These start as general requirements for what our project must do, and then break down into more quantitative specific requirements at the system and subsystem levels.

Level 1 Project Requirements

Level 1 Project Requirements

Relevant Files

  1. Level 1 Project Requirements
  2. IREC Requirements
  3. Basic notes from customer interviews

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Level 2 Project Requirements

Level 2 Project Requirements

Relevant Files

  1. Level 2 Project Requirements

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

Relevant Files

  1. House of Quality

Initial Risk Assesment

An initial risk assessment was performed to begin to identify technical, resource, and safety risks for the project. These will be further developed as design details are settled on and a definite mitigation plan will be developed.
Initial Risk Matrix

Initial Risk Matrix

Initial Risk Assessment Scoring

Initial Risk Assessment Scoring

Link to: Initial Risk Assessment

Plans for next phase

Next Phase

Main goals:
  1. Decide on an oxidizer, fuel, and pressurant
  2. Raise money through ROAR day and develop a full project budget
  3. Determine expected chamber temperature and pressure
  4. Begin to design nozzle and determine desired geometry
  5. Determine desired test goals and desired telemetry

Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart

Microsoft Project file located here.

Design Review Materials

Relevant Links

Design Requirements Review Presentation

Review Notes

Post Review Action Items


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