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SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

Princeton SpaceShot Part 101 Waiver Application

Prepared by Saad Mirza and Coleman Merchant

Advisers: Professor Luis Gonzalez and Professor Luigi Martinelli


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students under Princeton Rocketry Club
Table of Contents
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Flight overview…………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Structural…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

Propulsion………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Avionics…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5

Staging…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Recovery…………………………………………………………………………………………………... 7

Vehicle Inputs…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Winds, Trajectory, and Dispersions…………………………………………………………………….. 9


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Flight overview
Princeton SpaceShot is a small, 2-stage, student-built, rail-launched, unguided, and fin-stabilized
rocket seeking a waiver as a “Class 2-High Power Rocket” under 14 CFR Part 101 Subpart C.
The vehicle is 131.4” long and weighs 50.03 lb at liftoff. Predicted apogee is 455,650 ft MSL.

The vehicle will be launched from a 16 ft launch rail, with adjustable elevation and supported by
a steel tower, at the Spaceport America Vertical Launch Area. The launch point is 32° 56.402' N,
106° 54.658' W. The nominal impact point is 32° 49.358' N, 106° 52.227' W for the sustainer.

Table 1. Summary of nominal flight profile with event times


Event Time [s]

Booster ignition and liftoff 0

Stage separation (differential drag) 4.1

Booster burnout 4.5

Sustainer ignition 16.1 (12 s coast)

Sustainer burnout 20 (3.9 s burn time)

Spent booster ballistic impact (stable) 85

Sustainer apogee, parachute deployment 180

Sustainer touchdown 933

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Structural
The vehicle is designed around the two solid motors, which are 3.875” and 2.125” in diameter
for the booster and sustainer stage, respectively. A machined aluminum interstage adapter
couples the two stages, while composite cruciform fin canister units fit around each motor.
Composite structures, which include the sustainer airframe, lower nose cone assembly, and both
fin canisters, are fabricated from high-temperature (glass transition 658° F) cyanate ester
thermoset prepreg, with glass or carbon fibers.

To combat aerodynamic heating especially at stagnation points, the nose tip is fabricated from
titanium alloy, and the nose cone shear pins are stainless steel. In addition, the vehicle is coated
in an appropriate layer of Minteq International FIREX™ RX-2376 ablative which becomes a
liquid in conditions of aerodynamic heating above 250° F, preserving the airfoil characteristics
underneath.

The vehicle was designed using 3D computer aided drawing (CAD) software, simulated with
finite element analysis (FEA) and manufactured primarily using CNC controlled mills and
lathes. The vehicle was designed with structural factor of safety of at least 2.5x throughout, after
accounting for aerodynamic heating. This yields a maximum survivable angle of attack at max-Q
in excess of 10 degrees.

The cruciform finsets were evaluated for aeroelasticity factor of safety using the amateur
software AeroFinSim 4.5 and NACA Technical Report 685. Table 2 tabulates these results.

Table 2. Aeroelasticity characteristics of finsets


Finset Flutter Velocity [Mach] Divergence Velocity [Mach]

Booster 5.29 6.32

Sustainer 30.26 13.68

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Figure 1. A two-dimensional drawing of the vehicle, dimensioned in inches.

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Propulsion
Both motors are commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hobbyist solid motors. Total installed impulse
is 27,725 N s (6233 lbf s), as measured at sea level. Detailed thrust curves can be supplied on
request.
The booster motor is an Aerotech Consumer Aerospace O5040X manufactured by RCS Rocket
Motor Components, with a manufacturer specified burn time of 4.5 s and an average thrust of
roughly 5040 N (1133 lbf). The motor has a loaded mass of 33.32 lb and a propellant mass of
21.56 lb. Total impulse at sea level is 22,363 N s (5027 lbf s), sea level specific impulse (ISP) is
233 s, vacuum ISP is 252 s, and the nozzle exit diameter is 2.774”. The motor case has an OD of
3.875” and is made of high-temperature filament-wound GFRP. The oxidizer is ammonium
perchlorate and the fuel is HTPB and aluminum. The booster motor is ignited with an
ammonium perchlorate based igniter supplied by the manufacturer, installed through the aft end
of the motor, and initiated by a wireless COTS controller with a personnel standoff distance of
2,500 ft.
The sustainer motor is a Loki Research M1378, with a manufacturer specified burn time of 3.9 s
and an average thrust of roughly 1378 N (310 lbf). The motor has a loaded mass of 9.55 lb and a
propellant mass of 5.73 lb. Total impulse at sea level is 5362 N s (1205 lbf s), sea level specific
impulse (ISP) is 210 s, vacuum ISP is 231 s, and the nozzle exit diameter is 1.6”. The motor case
has an OD of 2.125” and is made of aluminum tubing. The oxidizer is ammonium perchlorate
and the fuel is HTPB and aluminum. The sustainer motor is ignited with a Rocketflite LLC
MagFire2 electric match, a vacuum-tested, fluoroelastomer-based initiator developed for the
United States Navy. The electric match is fed through the forward closure of the sustainer motor,
and is augmented with a confined black powder charge to ignite the surface of the propellant
grain at high altitude.

Avionics
Inside the RF-transparent GFRP sustainer airframe section is the 3D-printed avionics bay. It is
fitted with two commercial off-the-shelf AIM XTRA GPS flight computers as two fully
independent and redundant systems. Each provide live data telemetry over an RF link, log data to
memory, and control separate circuits for sustainer ignition and parachute deployment.

Each flight computer unit includes a 6-DOF IMU with a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope,
and a 3-axis magnetometer, along with a civilian uBlox MAX-8 GPS module. The GPS has no
altitude limit, but has a soft velocity lockout (Wassenaar arrangement) where position data is not
reported at a velocity above 500 m/s. When the velocity decreases below this value near apogee,
the GPS data will be reported again. Furthermore, since all data is Kalman filtered, the IMU will
provide redundancy for the case in which the GPS module encounters this software lockout. The

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RF telemetry link is over the 70cm band and has a range of well over 60 miles. Tracking is over
RF only, as no optical or radar tracking is available.

Power is supplied to each flight computer by independent lithium-ion cells that have been
modified and tested for vacuum operation. The avionics bay is also fitted with a GoPro camera to
capture HD video during the flight.

Staging
The stages are separated by differential drag about 4.1 seconds into the booster motor burn. The
sustainer is placed into the interstage adapter, but it is not secured. The interstage adapter is
designed to produce minimal friction at the sustainer-interstage junction. The thrust of the
booster motor holds it in place under acceleration until the thrust of the booster motor can no
longer produce a positive vertical acceleration against the forces of gravity and drag. The larger
diameter of the booster (3.875”) causes a much larger form drag on the booster, decelerating it at
a higher rate than the sustainer (2.125” diameter). The drag separation force is about 250 lb.

After a 12 s coast, the AIM XTRA flight computers initiate sustainer ignition. The 12 s coast
greatly reduces aerodynamic heating and drag during sustainer flight. The flight computer is also
programmed with an angle lockout: if the vehicle pitch angle is below 70°, the sustainer will not
ignite. The ignition system is described in section Propulsion.

Figure 2. Graph of the axial acceleration from the ASTOS 6-DOF code. After stage separation,
the booster decelerates much more rapidly than the sustainer due to differential drag.

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Figure 3. Plot of the pitch angle before sustainer ignition in the nominal trajectory. The
sustainer remains nearly vertical at ignition (t = 16.1 s) in the nominal case.

Recovery
After stage separation, the spent booster will coast to about 35,000 ft, and then descend in a
stable ballistic trajectory. The spent booster is designed to maintain a static margin after burnout
to reduce dispersion of the spent booster impact point. The velocity at spent booster ground
impact is about 650 ft/s.

The AIM XTRA flight computers detect apogee using Kalman filtered sensor data, including the
6-DOF IMU, magnetometer, and GPS position data. At sustainer apogee, a 12” parachute and
recovery harness constructed entirely of Kevlar and aramid fibers for resistance to aerodynamic
heating is deployed. The deployment is actuated by two separate confined pyrotechnic charge
wells for redundancy, filled with black powder and tested for vacuum operation. Two stainless
steel shear pins, resistant to high temperatures, keep the nose cone secured to the sustainer
airframe until parachute deployment at apogee. The velocity at sustainer touchdown is
approximately 100 ft/s.

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Vehicle Inputs
Aerodynamic predictions were made using USAF Automated Missile DATCOM rev. 3/99 based
on the geometric inputs. Computed aerodynamic force and moment coefficients and their
derivatives can be provided on request.

The rail length is 16 ft, and the launch point is 32° 56.402' N, 106° 54.658' W at an elevation of
4560 ft MSL.

The nominal impact point is 32° 49.358' N, 106° 52.227' W for the sustainer.
With typical winds, the spent booster impact point is 32° 56.33' N, 106° 53.65' W.
However, the specific wind profile for the day of launch will cause the impact point of the spent
booster to change. The nominal impact point for the sustainer will be targeted with the wind-
weighting procedure in the section Winds, Trajectory, and Dispersions.

The full vehicle length (including the booster, interstage, fincan, and sustainer) is 130.41 in. The
booster-only length (including the booster motor, interstage, and fincan) is 64.17 in. The
sustainer length is 71.56 in. See the 2D diagram in Figure 1 for further detail.

Table 3. Physical vehicle inputs

Configuration Mass CoG location from Pitch Moment of Roll Moment of


[lb] front [in] Inertia [lb in2] Inertia [lb in2]

Full vehicle,
fueled 50.03 lb 86.92 in 47,090 lb in2 101.8 lb in2

Full vehicle,
booster burnout 28.47 lb 76.19 in 34,609 lb in2 68.43 lb in2

Only booster,
fueled 37.77 lb 35.125 in 11,935 lb in2 93.68 lb in2

Only booster,
empty 16.207 lb 35.24 in 7,060 lb in2 60.28 lb in2

Only sustainer,
fueled 12.26 lb 43.012 in 3,834.5 lb in2 8.15 lb in2

Only sustainer,
empty 6.528 lb 38.193 in 2,669.7 lb in2 5.765 lb in2

*Note: The vehicle is assumed to be symmetric about the pitch and yaw axes.

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Winds, Trajectory, and Dispersions
The trajectory and Monte Carlo analysis for impact dispersion was computed with the
commercial 6-DOF code ASTOS Amateur Rockets Edition v7 from ASTOS Solutions GmbH.
The atmosphere model used is the U.S. Standard Atmosphere 1976 and the planet model is a
rotating oblate spheroid WGS84 Earth.

In order to calculate the impact point dispersion including uncertainty in the wind profile, a
typical wind profile was obtained. It was obtained by averaging wind vector components from
historical NOAA RAOB balloon soundings at 12Z from the EPZ station in Santa Teresa, NM for
the years 2012-2017 and the dates May 24th to 28th. The wind data for ground level was replaced
with historical data from the AWOS at Spaceport America.

Table 4. Typical wind profile for May 24th to May 28th at 12Z

Altitude, MSL [m] Meteorological wind direction Wind speed [knots]


[deg°]

1403 m 280° 2.87

2500 m 269° 16.59

3000 m 257° 17.69

4000 m 238° 19.70

6000 m 251° 28.33

9000 m 259° 40.58

12000 m 259° 59.12

18000 m 260° 9.58

On the day of launch, our wind-weighting procedure will use forecast wind profiles from NOAA
High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR). The nearest grid point is 0.8 nm from the launch point.
After inputting the forecast wind profile, the launcher settings to target the nominal sustainer
impact point will be recalculated. The wind-weighting procedure will be performed once 18
hours before launch to set the launcher azimuth, which is fixed in place during launcher setup.
The procedure will then be performed again about 1 hour before launch to set the launcher
elevation, which is easily adjustable. The uncertainty from using NOAA HRRR wind forecasts
instead of live wind conditions is included in Table 5.

For a no-wind trajectory, to target the nominal sustainer impact point, the launcher azmuth
should be set to 142.5° and the launcher elevation should be set to 88.77°.

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For a trajectory computed with the typical wind profile, the launcher azimuth should be set to
111° and the launcher elevation should be set to 86.8°.

For a trajectory computed with typical wind, the apogee altitude is 455,650 ft.

The maximum possible range of 118 nautical miles is at a launcher elevation setting of 64° for a
no-wind trajectory.

Figure 4. Nominal trajectory with typical wind, map plot. Impact points are starred.

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Table 5. Uncertainty parameters to three standard deviations.

Uncertainty Parameter Distribution Standard Mean Lower Upper


Deviation Bound Bound

Axial coefficient (CA) scaling factor Gaussian 0.05 1.00 0.85 1.15

Normal coefficient (CN) scaling factor Gaussian 0.05 1.00 0.85 1.15

Center of gravity (CoG) location Gaussian 0.017 1.00 0.949 1.051


scaling factor

Moment of inertia scaling factor Gaussian 0.05 1.00 0.85 1.15

Mass scaling factor Gaussian 0.01 1.00 0.97 1.03

Wind angle scaling factor Gaussian 0.02 1.00 0.94 1.06

Wind speed scaling factor Gaussian 0.08 1.00 0.76 1.24

Thrust scaling factor Gaussian 0.03 1.00 0.91 1.09

Booster fin cant angle Gaussian 0.07° 0.00° -0.21° 0.21°

Sustainer fin cant angle Gaussian 0.07° 0.00° -0.21° 0.21°

Thrust misalignment angle Gaussian 0.2° 0.0° -0.6° 0.6°

Launcher azimuth angle Uniform N/A 111° 109° 113°

Launcher elevation angle Uniform N/A 86.8° 86.55° 87.05°

The uncertainty in the CA and CN coefficients is due to the limitations of USAF Automated
Missile DATCOM rev. 3/99. The uncertainty in the center of gravity and moments of inertia is
due to the accuracy of the CAD software and the model. To compute the center of gravity
location and moments of inertia accurately, the measured mass values of each component are
entered into the CAD software. The uncertainty in the mass is from the accuracy of mass
measurements.
The uncertainty in the fin cant angle is due to manufacturing tolerances. The uncertainty in the
launcher azimuth and elevation angles is from rail deflection at the tip, tip-off contributions, and
measurement errors.

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Figure 5. Altitude vs. range, nominal trajectory with typical wind. Apogee altitude is 455,650 ft.

Figure 6. Vertical velocity [ft/s] vs. time, nominal trajectory with typical wind.

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Figure 7. Altitude vs. time, nominal trajectory with typical wind. Apogee altitude is 455,650 ft.

Figure 8. Altitude vs. range, nominal no-wind trajectory.

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Figure 8. 1,000 impact dispersions of sustainer as black points. Nominal trajectory with typical
wind in blue.

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Figure 10. 1,000 impact dispersions of booster as red triangles. Nominal trajectory with typical
wind in blue.

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Figure 11. Angle of attack vs. time in green.

Figure 12. Static margin vs. time, in body diameters (calibers).

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