Australia’s brand new space industry has plenty of homegrown talent already in the making, with student team Monash High Powered Rocketry capping off their first season with an impressive second placing in the 30,000ft flight division at the Australian University Rocketry Competition.
Run by the Australian Youth Aerospace Association, the inaugural competition was held at international rocketry festival Thunda Down Under 2019 over Easter. Student teams from across Australia and NZ undertook the unique challenge to design, build and launch a single-stage, high powered rocket using a commercial-off-the-shelf solid fuel propulsion motor. Teams were scored in their preliminary design, the quality & innovation of their manufactured rocket, the rocket launch trajectory and the safe & accurate recovery.
Monash HPR received the top mark in the technical report, almost 100 per cent in the oral presentations and a very exciting and successful flight of one of their rockets to almost 26,000 feet.
“We’re especially proud of the successful flight of ‘Hyperion’, our 30,000ft entry,” said team lead and Aerospace Engineering student Meaghan Munro. “Due to limited access to testing, Hyperion was our first ever flight to reach supersonic speeds, its motor was four times more powerful than any we had flown before, and it was triple the altitude! There were a lot of nerves prior to Hyperion’s flight, so watching it fly so beautifully was incredibly rewarding.”
Not everything went exactly to plan however for their 10,000ft rocket ‘Athena’. Due to a loss of GPS data late in the evening, the rocket couldn’t be located after launch until the next morning. “That was really hard on the team who had to spend the night not knowing if we’d find it again, just waiting for daylight,” said Meaghan. “But we got up early and found it by 8am the next day, which was a big relief.”
Competing against other universities from around Australia and NZ gave the team opportunities to make friends and connections. “It was amazing to see how many of the other teams were going through the same design problems we were,” she said. “The teams were very open with one another and a great sense of community was developed, which I think was very rewarding for all of us.”
With the 2019 competition now over, Monash HPR is already working on making the 2020 season even stronger. “The team is going right back to our roots and beginning proof of concept of a few new ideas on small scale rockets,” Meaghan explained. “We hope to begin development of our attitude control systems as well as the development of our own Hybrid rocket engines. We plan on entering the AURC again in 2020, and also aim to enter Spaceport America Cup.”
“The team's passion and professionalism has been outstanding and should place them in an excellent position for future competitions,” said academic advisor Dr Callum Atkinson. “They have come a very long way in the past 12 months, and we’re very proud of their efforts”
“Monash High Powered Rocketry carried themselves like consummate professionals throughout the whole season, and especially at Thunda Down Under,” said Director of Student Teams Dr Scott Wordley. “They've won a lot of respect from the rocket community already, and we’re very proud of their achievements.”
The team would like to thank Monash Engineering and Monash Science for their ongoing support, LEAP Australia for their assistance in our simulations, the experienced flyers from MARS and Tripoli for their assistance and mentorship, the AYAA and the AURC committee for pulling together the inaugural competition and lastly the Queensland Rocketry Society for hosting them at Thunda Down Under 2019.
Follow Monash HPR’s progress on their Facebook page