Purdue Space Program Soars to New Heights

Posted: Updated:
(photo courtesy Purdue Space Program) (photo courtesy Purdue Space Program)
WEST LAFAYETTE -

A student team called Purdue Space Program has built a liquid methane rocket and hopes to win a competition with it. The team of students will compete for the FAR-MARS Prize, which is named after its two sponsors, Friends of Amateur Rocketry and Mars Society.

The $100,000 competition takes place in May, and the Purdue team will try to win two separate contests within the competition. If a student team is able to launch a bi-propellant liquid-fueled rocket to 45,000 feet, they win $50,000. If they launch using liquid oxygen and liquid methane, they receive another $50,000. The Purdue team is competing with a single rocket .“Solid rocket fuels are pretty simple and well-known, but very few people attempt liquid-fueled rockets,” said Christopher Nilsen, a multidisciplinary engineering major and president of Purdue SEDS (Students for Exploration and Development of Space).  “With liquid-fueled rockets, there are valves, there are pressurizations, and everything has to be kept very cold. There’s a lot of plumbing to figure out.”

Due to the unavailability of commercial liquid methane, the students make their own with a condenser system to convert gaseous methane to liquid methane. The 50-student team has built the rocket, condenser system, and the launch pad, within a 12-month period for only $20,000. However, they also have a secret weapon: Zucrow Labs. “Zucrow is the largest propulsion lab at any university in the country,” said School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Cat White. “They have more area, they have more test cells, they have more experience. They have parts everywhere that we’ve been able to adapt for our rocket. They have control systems already established, so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel.”

The FAR-MARS competition launches May 5th in the Mojave Desert of California, and runs for 9 days.  The Purdue team will have two hours to deploy their system, fuel the rocket, and launch a payload of an altitude tracking device, and then recover it with a parachute. The team will have just two hours to deploy its launch system, fuel the rocket, and launch a payload that includes an altitude tracking device, and recover it via parachute. Video of the rocket can be seen by clicking here .

  • Perspectives

    • Are Tax Incentives an Economic Development Answer?

      Economic development deals are in the news all the time. As companies announce expansions or headquarter relocations, the media is rife with details about incentives offered to secure these projects. Some argue that these incentives would not be necessary if governments did not compete against one another for projects. But the fact is, competition does exist. As a result...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Cathedral Kicks Off Capital Campaign

      In honor of its 100th anniversary, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis has publicly kicked off what it says is the largest capital and endowment campaign in the school's history. The Centennial Campaign seeks to raise $25 million to fund several projects, including a new Innovation Center.

    • Automotive Parts Supplier Closing Indy Facility

      Michigan-based Federal-Mogul Motorparts LLC has announced plans to close its Indianapolis distribution and warehouse center. The company, which provides original and aftermarket automotive products, says the closure will result in the layoffs of 83 employees.

    • (photo courtesy Blue Chip Casino)

      Blue Chip Casino to Break Ground on Expansion

      Construction is set to begin Thursday on an expansion at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Michigan City. The project will grow the venue's meeting and event space by about 15,000 square feet and is expected to be complete by the fall of 2019.

    • Thor Set to Become Largest RV Maker in The World

      Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) has announced an agreement to acquire a German recreational vehicle manufacturer for approximately $2.4 billion. Once complete, Thor says the deal for Erwin Hymer Group SE will create the world's largest RV maker. EHG currently employs more than 7,300 globally and its RVs are sold through a network of over 1,200 retailers. The companies say they expect no change in employee headcount or number of facilities as a result of...

    • Carmel Ranked Among Best Places to Live

      Carmel has been chosen as the 3rd best place to live in the U.S. according to MONEY.  The publication only looked at cities with a population of 50,000 or greater, and eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime rate, less than 85-percent of the state's median household income, or lack of ethnic diversity.  MONEY was able to pare the list down to 50 communities after delving into data concerning economic health, public education, cost of...