Texas A&M Rocket Engine Design Team

Founded with one pivotal goal in mind, the Texas A&M Rocket Engine Design Team (RED) was made to develop the university's first liquid rocket engine. Originally founded in 2016 with 20 members, our team has been hard at work with CAD-ing, prototyping, manufacturing, and testing to one day ignite the engine of Elysium. Now comprising of over 100 students from Texas A&M, the team unites individuals across several engineering disciplines to form the 5 sub-teams in RED. Together we are driven by a common objective to innovate within the realm of collegiate rocket technology and present the skill, passion, and dedication our team embodies.

Milestone 1: Waterflow Test Stand (WTS)

In the early years of the team, low member counts, funding complications, and the appearance of COVID caused the slow upbringing of RED, but slowly and steadily we have risen to our current standing, and finally demonstrated our progress in our Waterflow Test Stand where we tested our injector, the fluid system, and ground avionic test practices. This test provided the team with valuable data to then build into Elysium.

Current Endeavor: Elysium

Elysium Is the next major milestone for RED, and will mark the start of a new phase in RED where we will showcase years of growth and development in our first engine, denoted Elysium. Successful testing of our Waterflow Test Stand (WTS) in early March 2024, gave the team a glimpse of what we are capable of and showed us that Elysium will be a challenging, but attainable goal for the team.

Avionics and PCB: Current and future use

Tackling a Liquid rocket engine requires the use of multiple PCB's for the safe management of our rocket system. Solenoid operation, Data capture, and timing control are some of the leading reasons why our team uses PCB's. In the future, we plan on using PCB's for more complex operations, such as the control of a functional liquid rocket engine. The following depicts some of the PCB systems in use:

Main Water Test Stand (WTS) PCB:

RED WTS V1 served as the main control system for our WTS to control valve operations and collect pressure data. It contains a Teensy 4.1 Microcontroller with two pressure transducers and a voltage divider that steps the voltage down to 3.3V. To supply power to its pressure transducers the switching regulator steps down the voltage from 24V to 5V. Two MOSFETs control the signal to the solenoid valves to safely control the main WTS system.

Elysium MEGA PCB:

To tackle the static fire of Texas A&M's first liquid rocket engine, we need a larger PCB with far more capability and control than our WTS PCB. The MEGA PCB is still under development by the team to satisfy the needs for the avionics and control systems required for Elysium. This system combines capabilities like solenoid control, MOSFETs, data capture, along with thermocouple amplifiers, and a buck converter to step down the voltage to compatible values for the Teensy 4.1 Microcontroller and the pressure transducers. We plan on making this system mainly for Elysium, but also to be expandable for future tests for throttling, gimballing, fuel pumps, and regenerative cooling.

Closing Statements:

Having support from our sponsors allows our team to strive for progressively larger and more ambitious goals for us to achieve. Sponsorships and support from esteemed companies like PCB Way help keep the team running, and we are looking forward to what our team will achieve with these sponsors. Being centered at Texas A&M has given our team access to some of the brightest minds in engineering, and with the support of exceptional companies like PCB Way; there's no ceiling on what our team can achieve.

We strive for excellence and shoot for the moon. Thank you for your time, and Ad Astra.

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Mar 23,2024
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