Hybrid Rocket Technology Demonstrator - Lloyd Droppers

A hybrid rocket technology demonstrator is being developed and tested at Purdue University to serve as a test bed for flight testing technologies critical to the development of a small satellite launch vehicle.

The team working on the project consists of undergraduate and graduate students at Purdue that have been working to build a hybrid sounding rocket. Currently there are roughly a dozen people helping out on a part time basis, and the numbers and people are always changing because students getting jobs and co-ops building bigger rockets on a much larger budget.

Part of this goal is the demonstration of a hybrid rocket engine, propellant feed systems, ground support equipment, recovery systems, thrust vector control, guidance, etc. Both 25 lbf and 250 lbf thrust hybrid rocket motors have been successfully hot-fire tested at the Purdue rocket test facilities.

The recovery section of the vehicle was successfully ground and flight tested using a commercial solid motor. Manufacturing and testing of the ground support equipment used for remote loading and draining operations of hydrogen peroxide was completed in December 2006. The demonstration flight vehicle is 95 % complete with hold down tests in January 2007, and incorporates the 250 lbf thrust, 90% hydrogen peroxide/HTPB hybrid rocket motor, carbon-fiber airframe as well as flight tested recovery and avionics subsystems. Launch of the demonstration flight vehicle to an altitude of approximately 4000 feet will take place in early 2007.

Also under development is a 900 lbf thrust, multi-port, 90% hydrogen peroxide/ polyethylene hybrid rocket motor with active guidance using liquid injection thrust vector control (LITVC). This motor will be used to power the demonstration flight vehicle to altitudes exceeding 20,000 feet for flight testing of the thrust vector control subsystem at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility.

The work has been funded so far by a grant from the Purdue Engineering Student Council (PESC) and support from industry specifically Aerojet, ATK, and SpaceX and some fundraising by the team

Related Link: https://engineering.purdue.edu/AAE/Academics/StudentOrgs/hybrid_sounding_rocket