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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.
If a rocket develops insufficient thrust during liftoff, it may follow a depressed trajectory, and – when using a conventional barometric pressure based apogee sensor – potentially travel a long distance downrange before deploying the recovery system and/or hitting the ground. At least three IREC Team Projects have experienced such a failure mode in previous years. This presents several low probability, high impact hazards – typically mitigated by the largely unoccupied and untrafficked land surrounding the IREC launch site – in that the rocket could strike a structure or land on a highway. If on the other hand the recovery system were to deploy when the rocket pitches significantly from the vertical, the rocket's downrange motion may be degraded or the rocket may be destroyed before it poses a risk to any surrounding property.
CHALLENGE OBJECTIVE AND REQUIREMENTS
IREC teams participating in the ESRA Attitude-triggered Recovery Challenge will use an attitude sensor as the primary trigger for deploying the launch vehicle recovery system's drogue parachute. 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 employ a drogue parachute when the launch vehicle tilts 25-35 degrees from the vertical axis – where the vertical axis is defined as 90 degrees elevation measured at the launch location
- Shall deploy a main parachute, as required by Section 18.104.22.168 of the IREC Basic or Advanced Category requirements, based on barometric altitude
- Should minimize cost and simplify integration into the launch vehicle
- Shall successfully demonstrate the deployment at the IREC, having some means of proving the successful drogue deployment was triggered by the attitude sensor (Note that while it's type is not specified, a secondary/backup sensor is still required – in accordance with Section 4.2 of the IREC Basic or Advanced Category Requirements.)
- Shall deliver a development summary report which describes the recovery system (focusing on the primary drogue deployment 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) Attitude-triggered Recovery Challenge Development Summary Report for the (Year) IREC". For example, a team competing in the 2016 IREC Basic Category and participating in the Attitude-triggered Recovery Challenge, whose Team ID is 42, would title their development summary report "Team 42 Attitude-triggered Recovery 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, 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
ESRA is aware of at least two COTS solutions to this challenge. The "Zeptomag" by Zeptobit LLC and "The Rocket Tiltometer" are magnetometer based solutions; however, there is extremely limited objective user evaluation information on these or similar systems. ESRA has an interest in such information and may award the Attitude-triggered Recovery Challenge to a Team willing to report on a COTS system's use in its project.