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Innovative Model Rocket Project For Sophomore Aerospace Engineering Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Undergraduate Spacecraft Design II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.897.1 - 12.897.15



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Paper Authors


Lawrence Boyer St. Louis University

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Lawrence, a native of Saint Louis, Missouri, received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Parks College of Saint Louis University in 1978 and worked in the aerospace industry (mostly in flight simulation) full-time up until returning to academia in 1992. He received his M.S. in AE in 1994 and became full-time faculty at Parks in 1995. Lawrence still retains part-time status in industry. Lawrence has varied hobbies including flying (private pilot), church choir directing, pipe organ restoration and playing, various types of dancing and Contra Dance calling.

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Krishnaswamy Ravindra St. Louis University

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Dr. George is a Professor Emeritus and former Chairman of Aerospace Engineering at Parks College of Saint Louis University. He received his B.S. in Aeronautics from Parks in 1956 and Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in 1967. His professional interests include aircraft and spacecraft performance and design. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA. He is past chairman of the ASEE-Aerospace Division and past chairman of the Aerospace Department Chairman's Association. He is currently serving on the AIAA Student Activities Committee.

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John George St. Louis University

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K. Ravindra is currently chair and professor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and technology at Saint Louis University. His teaching experience includes both undergraduate and graduate courses in Aerospace Engineering. His research interests include fluid dynamics and structural dynamics. He received his doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. He has published several papers in technical journals and conference proceedings. He is a fellow of ASME, associate fellow of AIAA and a member of ASEE. He is active in the aerospace division of ASEE and academic affairs committee of AIAA.

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Kyle Mitchell St. Louis University

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Dr. Kyle Mitchell received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 2004 in Computer Engineering. He joined the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004 as a tenure track Assistant Professor. His interests are in the areas of smart sensors, sensor technology, and embedded system.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Sophomore Model Rocket Project


In this paper, a model rocket project suitable for sophomore aerospace engineering students is described. This project encompasses elements of drag estimation, thrust determination and analysis using digital data acquisition, statistical analysis of data, computer aided drafting, programming, team work and written communication skills. The project is cost effective and provides good outcome measures.


CD = drag coefficient CDBT = drag coefficient for body and tube CDB = base drag coefficient CDF = drag coefficient of fins Cf = skin friction coefficient d = body tube diameter dB = base diameter of rocket g0 = acceleration due to gravity at sea level Isp = specific impulse λ = length of the body me = empty mass of rocket mprop = propellant mass mpl = payload mass mi = initial mass of rocket mf = final mass of the rocket n = number of fins SBT = maximum frontal area of the body SF = wetted area of fins SW = wetted area of the body sb = distance covered during burn sc = total distance covered during coasting ∆s = distance covered during one iteration of coasting portion Σ∆s = total distance covered during coasting t/c = thickness ratio of fins V = velocity ρ = air density, sea level


Most aerospace engineering curriculums contain an introductory course that introduces a sophomore student to the world of aerospace. Generally this course tends to be a broad introduction to terminology, basic aerodynamics, performance, propulsion and structures. In

Boyer, L., & Ravindra, K., & George, J., & Mitchell, K. (2007, June), Innovative Model Rocket Project For Sophomore Aerospace Engineering Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2544

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