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In our many conference calls leading up to each year's IREC, the ESRA team spends countless hours passionately debating the merits of various technologies featured by past IREC Teams, or that might be demonstrated by future Teams. These debates used to invariably end in circular discussions on the hypothetical advantages and disadvantages of these technologies... used to... until now! Help us advance the discussion the best ways we know how – hardware development and flight testing! Similar to the Challenge Categories sponsored by outside organizations, ESRA will periodically sponsor its own Technology Challenges encouraging interested teams to develop and integrate a particular technology concept into their project. Participating teams will submit a separate report their development process and findings. The first team to successfully/satisfactorily demonstrate the concept, or – when multiple teams participate simultaneously – the team to most successfully demonstrate the concept, will receive an award.
Most high-power rockets use pyrogens or pyrotechnic devices (eg ejection charges), usually black powder or a similar substitute, to separate airframe sections and deploy parachutes for recovery. Storage and transportation of these pyrogens present some hazards which must be mitigated. Additional hazards exist in the possible unintentional activation of these devices during pre-launch preparations, most notably recovery system arming. Furthermore, if one or more charges fail to fire during the flight, they present a hazard to those sent to recover the system. Finally, the hot gases produced by pyrogen based systems pose a hazard to the system's own parachutes, which must be shielded/insulated.
CHALLENGE OBJECTIVE AND REQUIREMENTS
IREC Teams Participating in the Non-pyrotechnic Parachute Deployment Challenge will design and build a dual deployment parachute ejection system for their launch vehicle which does not use any pyrogens. To be considered for judging, the submitted recovery system shall/should:
- Shall be entered in the IREC competition, in either the Basic or Advanced Category, and comply with all applicable requirements thereof
- Shall be controllable/compatible with at least one model of commercially available flight computer.
- Shall feature redundant electronics and sensors, as required by Section 4.2 of the IREC Basic or Advanced Category requirements
- Should minimize cost and simplify integration into the launch vehicle
- Should provide visual cues for ground personnel (those equipped with binoculars) to identify an attempted deployment event, similar to the smoke cloud observable when a black powder charge fires.
- Shall successfully demonstrate the system at the IREC
- Shall deliver a development summary report which describes the recovery system in detail, including a physical description, interface definitions, concept of operations, and lessons learned in development. Furthermore, the development summary report shall/should:
- Shall be no longer than three pages, not including tables, figures, footnotes, source endnotes, equations and explanations of variables.
- Shall contain the following appendices: wiring diagram; mechanical drawing(s); itemized list of component costs and component sourcing; challenge hardware specific Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment Matrix based on that provided for the overall project in accordance with Section 8.7 of the IREC Basic or Advanced Category requirements
- Shall be formatted according to the formatting rules of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Technical Conference Paper Template found on the AIAA website at https://www.aiaa.org/techpresenterresources/ (Note the MS Word version of the template occasionally downloads as a PDF filetype and will not open properly. If this occurs, you must locate the file in your Downloads folder and instruct your computer to open it using MS Word rather than Adobe Reader by right clicking and selecting the "open with" option. Finally, please be aware the IREC is not an AIAA conference. Teams must therefore change the footer in the AIAA template to read "Experimental Sounding Rocket Association" rather than "American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics")
- Shall be titled "Team (Team ID) Non-pyrotechnic Parachute Deployment Challenge Development Summary Report for the (Year) IREC". For example, a team competing in the 2016 IREC Basic Category and participating in the Non-pyrotechnic Parachute Deployment Challenge, whose Team ID is 42, would title their development summary report "Team 42 Non-pyrotechnic Parachute Deployment Development Summary Report for the 2016 IREC".
- Should be amended by a one page summary of results and lessons learned following the flight performed at the IREC, preferably before the end of the event.
The evaluation criteria will be overall mission success (including special consideration for aforementioned visual indicators), system cost, ease of installation/integration, safety, and quality of development summary report.
The reward for the ESRA Attitude Triggered Recovery Challenge is $500.
OTHER POSSIBLY USEFUL INFORMATION
The ESRA Non-pyrotechnic Deployment Challenge seeks solutions which do not require any explosives whatsoever. The Rouse-Tech Carbon Dioxide Deployment Device (CD3) and similar COTS systems eject parachutes using cold gas, making them much safer than pyrogen based "ejection charge" systems; however, these systems still use a small amount of pyrogen to actuate a captured piston firing pin and picture a carbon dioxide canister. Therefore, ESRA does not consider this COTS solution as meeting the spirit of the challenge.