We Launched Our Model Rockets!

So we finally managed to launch our model rockets

We visited a park in the middle of Coventry and set up for launch. It wasn’t a particularly nice day, but it didn’t rain whilst we were there, which is a massive bonus!

We went through some safety aspects and then showed everyone how we were going to be launching the model rockets, then stood back as they were launched into space (about 150 meters into the air).

The day went great – there are some pictures of the launch over on Instagram (or scroll down this page). Also, don’t forget to check out the short video of the launch on our YouTube channel

The Rocket Motors Arrived!

So after the success of the Beginner’s Rocketry Workshop, we had to order the rocket motors; a grand total of 48 Estes A8-3 model rocket motors were ordered from Elite Models Online on Friday 17th October 2014 and due for delivery on the following Wednesday 22nd October 2014.

However, after 3 failed attempted deliveries by UKMail, they decided to send the model rocket motors back to Elite Models, only to have them re-sent back to UKMail who then managed to find the university. It’s here where we must stress that the delay in delivery was nothing to do with Elite Models, who were more than helpful, it was all down to UKMail – who failed to find the university 3 times!

We took the time to take some pictures of the rocket engines to show you all what they look like:


We also took some extra picturesque images for you:


We look forward to launching them, look out for more details about when and where!

Our First Ever Workshop!

On Thursday 9th October 2014, we held our first ever workshop: the Beginner’s Rocketry Workshop. We ordered 36 model rockets (Wizard) from Estes Rockets and had our members build them in a two our session on campus

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We had such a great turn out, better than we had ever hoped for, and the event ran exceptionally smoothly (despite Lee & Chris having to run to cost-cutter to get some more glue)!


The workshop began with Rob giving a short presentation on the basics of rocketry, before our members dove, head first, into making their very own model rockets. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, with some really good questions coming from everyone.


Once the building segment was over, Rob gave another short presentation regarding the safety aspects behind launching rockets. We then informed everyone that we plan to launch all together before then end of the month and a launch date will soon be decided.

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There will hopefully be prizes for both the best designed rocket and the rocket which lands closest to the launch site.


Thanks to everyone who came, we look forward to seeing you all again during more model rocket building workshops, more competition building, and more ambitious projects. Look out for the soon to be decided launch date and time!

We’ve Started Building

All of the parts we ordered for WR-1 have arrived, and we have begun the first stage of building the competition rocket!


Set-up and organised, ready to start the first stage of building.

Set-up and organised, ready to start the first stage of building.

The first step was cutting the body-tube to the correct length and number of sections:

Lee Staples cutting the Phenolic tubing air frame.

Lee Staples cutting the Phenolic tubing air frame.

The next step was to cut and re-shape the coupler tube:

Christopholos Hickey sanding down the coupler tube (it was too wide, so we had to cut it down a bit).

Chris Hickey sanding down the coupler tube (it was too wide, so we had to cut it down a bit).

The finished coupler tube had to then be attached to the payload section:

Christopholos Hickey affixing the coupler tube to the payload section.

Chris Hickey affixing the coupler tube to the payload section.

Next we worked on the inner tube \ engine mount:

The finished engine mount.

The finished engine mount.

Here you can see Rob admiring our hard work:

Robert Sandford thinking about engine retention.

Robert Sandford thinking about engine retention.

We have a small issue of engine retention, which we’ll have a look into and update you when we know what we’re doing

The next step was to make and attach the fins:

Sanding down the leading edges of the fins.

Sanding down the leading edges of the fins.

The last step for now, was to add and smooth the fin fillets:

Fin fillets much smoother and more aerodynamic after sanding down with cylindrical piece of Nylon.

Fin fillets much smoother and more aerodynamic after sanding down with cylindrical piece of Nylon.

Our finished work on first stage of building the competition rocket:

Second stage of making rocket for NRC 2014.

Second stage of making rocket for NRC 2014.

Look out for more updates!

We Have A Sponsor: i2M

We are proud to say we have gained an official sponsor, please welcome Innovate 2 Make Ltd (i2M) to the team!


From their website:

i2M was formed in 2012 and established a machine-independent Additive Manufacturing (AM) based manufacturing facility. They recognise the need to provide clear open access to this exciting new technology and have already helped a number of major manufacturing companies to adopt AM into their production processes. These initial projects have proven the acceptance readiness for AM technology.

AM offers a new approach to manufacturing complex structures in a wide range of materials (Aluminium, Titanium, Inconel and Stainless Steel, etc.), and the process works directly from the Computer Aided Design model (3D CAD). It orients the components and slices the CAD data into layers which are then drawn in the build chamber using a Ytterbium fibre laser onto a powder bed containing fine metallic particles (Powder). Each layer is “grown” together to produce the final component.

3D printing in metal has some big advantages over traditional machining methods for parts with complex shapes. You know, complex shapes like this:

Vulcain engine cross-section

Thrust chamber of the Vulcain rocket engine. The injector head at the top of the engine is difficult to manufacture. Obviously we’re looking at a slightly smaller scale than this!

The “old-fashioned” way of making a precision component like this could be called subtractive manufacturing – you start with a block of metal and cut away the parts you don’t need. For really complex shapes, it’s often impossible for the cutting tool to reach internal cavities like the inside of an injector, so the part has to be made out of smaller pieces joined together somehow. This takes longer to build, and is harder to do reliably! On the other hand, if you build up a part layer-by-layer using additive manufacturing, it’s possible to create the entire part in one go, since even intricate details like injectors can easily be “sliced” into layers and printed.

I2M are kind enough to print complex parts for us, in exchange for us supplying information for a case study (and of course they also get a cheeky bit of promotion)!

We hope the relationship is a fruitful one, and we look forward to working with them

Did You Know?

We are a branch of the UKSEDS (UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space)!


They are the UK’s national student space society, and help support students and enthusiasts across the country by running space projects, hosting conferences & workshops, and doing outreach to inspire and educate.

They’re also very keen to build links between different parts of the space community, and to promote space beyond that. They are the UK chapter of the global SEDS movement, and a registered charity (no. 1158580).

Their Mission:

  • To improve the knowledge base, skill sets and hands-on experience levels of students in the UK with an active interest in space.
  • To provide a forum through which students can become involved in the space community through government, industry, and academia, both nationally and internationally.
  • To promote the exploration of space, and the research and development of space-related technologies.

They currently sponsor us by helping us out wherever they can, and they also organise the annual National Rocketry Championship (NRC).

Go check them out and let them know what a great job they’re doing!