The recovery team is tasked with getting the rockets down as safely and reliably as possible. Our Spaceport America Cup rockets must also meet the requirements set by the competition. To achieve this, the recovery team designs, manufactures, tests, and integrates the parachute system as well as the electronics that control parachute deployment.
In the fall, work on the recovery team is mostly design and subscale testing. This includes determining the type of recovery system to be used and designing the parachutes and lines diagrams. We also manufacture small parachutes for testing. The spring semester mostly consists of manufacturing the fullscale recovery system. We perform a series of inflation, deployment, and ejection tests after the manufacturing is complete.
This year we investigated new parachute geometries that tangle less and have more drag. We did this by making subscale parachutes of each parachute geometry and testing them in the wind tunnel. Through this testing, we determined the best geometry for the main parachute on this year’s rocket. This spring we started manufacturing the parachutes that will be flown on Imperator. For us, that means measuring and cutting the fabric into gores and sewing them together to make the parachute into the right shape. After that, we hem the edges to prevent fraying and then sew the shroud lines into the parachute. We will also manufacture the shroud lines and shock cord.