Recovery Update

This year the team plans to go with a reef parachute system replacing the drogue and main parachute system of previous years. The reefing device will be a tubular solenoid that will be retracted when activated by other electronics such as an altimeter and light sensor. The device will be located in a pouch on the parachute skirt.

The team will go with the cruciform parachute design this build cycle which a smaller scale version was recently tested in a wind tunnel.

Propulsion Update

After having a successful small scale test in December 2019, the team started working on a 98mm midscale motor, which was manufactured in September 2020. To test the midscale motor a new key site was needed and the team is working on obtaining a shipping container that provides housing for the test stand.

The team plans to continue research and development in areas such as nozzle manufacturing, 3D geometries, and vacuum processing.

Payload Update

The payload for this build cycle as in previous years will be in a CubeSat form. It consists of an onboard experiment as well as a system to guide the payload by steering its parafoil. This is done by having the parafoil cord wrapped around a control wheel powered by a servo.

The onboard experiments mission to harvest energy from the payloads turbulent flight. The piezoelectric effect generates an electric charge from mechanical stress.

Mechanical Update

The team is working on a ground verification project to let the onboard system know when the rocket is off the ground to start recording telemetry. The design sits inside the camera bay. The force of the launch dislodged a metal ball which falls and hits a button sending a signal the rocket has launched.


The team is working on a Roll Stabilization SRAD project, which will not be implemented on Renegade. The purpose would be to prevent a high role rate, increase rocket performance, and allow more sensitive experiments to be launched.

Avionics Update

One new addition to the hardware system this build cycle is a separate and modular power management unit. This will allow for easier revisions and repairs and decrease the amount of space taken. The controller for this year will be powered by the Teensy 4.0 which has a dual-issue superscalar which means you can run two instructions at the same time.

The team is looking to improve on the ground station by including a monitor screen. As in previous years, the ground station receives real-time data from telemetry and will contain a Raspberry Pi to facilitate communication and visualize data.

Aerostructures Update

This year’s Renegade HPR will have two main body tubes with a 32 inch Von Karman shape nose cone in previous years. The fines are clipped delta shape and easily replaceable if a fin happens to be damaged.


The team has a research project focused on building an SRAD PrePreg Autoclave. 

January 2020 Shop Talk

Second semester has kicked off in Ames, meaning it’s time to build! Designs for our next rocket are being finalized and components are beginning to be manufactured. The name of this year’s rocket is Ortu Solis, meaning “rising sun”. Learn more about what out team is up to in this month’s “Shop Talk”.


2018-19 Nova Somnium Recap

Hello! It’s been awhile since our last update, but a lot has happened! Last year’s leadership was overwhelmed preparing our competition rocket for the Spaceport America Cup, but this year we have created a new media chair position to ensure we can keep you up to date.


Last year we finished building Nova Somnium, which successfully launched this past summer. We had significantly more student research and development (SRAD) technology than in our inaugural year, successfully implementing our own custom built launch tower, onboard telemetry and ground station, composite couplers and nose cone, fins, parachutes and recovery process, and magnetic dampening experimental payload.


Nova Somnium targeted a 30,000 ft apogee and reached speeds in excess of 1000 miles per hour, but despite all the hard work of our team an unintended anomaly caused it to veer horizontally, ultimately reaching 23,000 ft. Despite this, we are proud of what we were able to achieve with the project. We have investigated the potential root causes of last year’s anomaly and are implementing corrective actions this year to avoid repeating the same mistakes. It was wonderful to put our efforts to the test, and we are excited to come back this year and apply the lessons we learned to a brand new rocket!


Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this past year a success. We could never have done it without our sponsors and our team members!


Check out our highlight video from the 2019 competition:


Thank you from the 2019 Spaceport America Cup

With our second appearance at the Spaceport America Cup Competition underway, Cyclone Rocketry is excited to be competing in this year’s 30K “Commercial off the shelf” (COTS) division. Today at the Spaceport America Cup Poster session in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Flight Safety Review Team concluded that Nova Somnium is safe to launch. Also at the session many teams complimented on the display of our rocket. We would like to give a special thanks Maaco for the beautiful paint job they gave to Nova Somnium. This is just one of the many sponsorships that enables us to represent Iowa State University – Department of Aerospace Engineering at an international level. Lastly we would like to thank everyone who has helped us get to where we are, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your continued support.  

To The Cup!