Thursday, April 5, 2012

A near-optimal 54mm rocket

This is Senza Confini, a nearly optimal performance 54mm rocket that is suitable for altitude competition on 54mm L motors. As you can see above, this rocket is basically a motor, electronics, and a nosecone. All too often, minimum diameter rockets are extremely long. That empty space is a waste, adding mass and drag by the inch. The rocket above only weighs about 1.8 lbs! That is not bad at all considering the amount of thrust and dynamic pressure that it must withstand.

To extend this theme to a logical end, the highest performance in the hobby would be to simply weld thin metal fins to the motor case, and weld a short airframe and nosecone to the forward closure of the motor. This may be overkill for 54mm rockets, but would work wonders in 75, 98, and 150mm rockets. An N 5800 with welded fins and an aluminum nosecone, perhaps with 8 inches of payload, can be expected to fly to 70,000 feet. The use of metal in the fins and nosecone provides protection from extreme dynamic pressures, and high temperatures. This all metal rocket would be similar to the Dr. Rocket modular system but would focus on reduced mass when possible. It would be an ideal upper stage for another N 5800, or something even larger like a P motor. This type of rocket would simply screw together the way a motor is assembled. Different payloads could be swapped out depending on the needs of a given flight.

This is an exciting time in the hobby because the full potential of motors, including some very powerful CTI motors, is finally being tested.

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