Launch Vehicle 3
LV 3 is our current generation airframe. It serves as a test platform for the technologies that will be used on LV4.
Combining work from two mechanical engineering capstones and work from many other PSAS members, the LV3 airframe is built of modular carbon fiber tubes. Rather than using solid aluminum, fiberglass, or cardboard, LV3 uses a sandwich design - lighter than LV2 airframe by about a factor of 5. This project has focused on making detailed and reproducible logs and procedures, for when it is adapted to LV4.
Departing from LV2’s in-body parachute, the LV3 recovery system is stored in the nosecone, since the eNSR would block an in-body parachute from deploying. This recovery system uses surgical tubing to push the nosecone up over the parachute.
Based on previous mechanical engineering capstones, this project replaces the canard-based RCS of LV2. This will give LV3 and LV4 attitude control even at high altitudes and at low airspeeds where canard become ineffective.
Ignition of the rocket is managed by a small embedded computer at the base of the launch tower. We communicate with this computer over a ground WiFi link to launch the rocket. It also has a hard data link to the rocket with shore power.