USC sets new altitude record with Fathom II

The University of Southern California Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (USC RPL) has posted the results from their recent launch of their Fathom II vehicle from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The link below goes into greater detail:
USC RPL breaks altitude record with Fathom II

The Fathom II vehicle was confirmed to have reached an altitude of 144,000 feet (43.98 km) on March 4, 2017. USC RPL now is the record holder for the highest altitude achieved by a wholly student built and launched rocket.

USC Fathom II at launch

USC RPL has been working hard over the years to reach this plateau of success. USC has conducted many tests and even launched some of their early vehicles from the RRS Mojave Test Area.

Next stop will be USC building and launching their larger full-scale SpaceShot vehicle to cross the von Karman line of 100 km altitude (328,083 feet 3 inches).

USC RPL team and the Fathom II rocket

The RRS congratulates USC on this stellar accomplishment and we hope to hear all about it at the RRS symposium at USC’s presentation in our speaker series, Saturday, April 22nd.

Saturday, April 22, RRS symposium in Gardena

rrs symposium flyer 5

The symposium is open to the public at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, CA. Well done, USC!

UCLA Tin Can project, CoDR

The RRS was glad to participate in the Conceptual Design Review (CoDR) of UCLA’s Tin Can project on Wednesday night, March 1st. This project will have UCLA build a liquid bi-propellant rocket to be flown in competition with other schools at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) site just south of the RRS Mojave Test Area (MTA).

FAR website, Launch Contest

Richard Garcia, RRS director of research

Dave Nordling, RRS secretary

The goal is to reach a specific target altitude using a liquid bi-propellant propulsion system (45,000 ft target, 30,000 ft minimum) with a minimum payload weight (1 kg) provided by FAR that includes an altitude tracking device. The winner will get $50K and the contest is jointly sponsored by the Mars Society. The UCLA team has already been organized with requirements documents provided and subsystem leads designated. Propellant selection was made (RP-1 and nitrous oxide) and the basic design parameters were set for this pressure-fed rocket.

The RRS has offered to support UCLA in the design and testing of key subsystems including propulsion at the RRS MTA. The RRS is thankful for the invitation to share our experience in this ambitious project and we look forward to working with UCLA in the coming months as the project advances to the preliminary design phase and beyond.

UCLA rocket project for IREC

The RRS was glad to participate in the Critical Design Review held at UCLA Boelter Hall. UCLA is preparing for the upcoming Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) to be held at Spaceport America in New Mexico on June 20-24, 2017.

CDR for UCLA’s IREC project

UCLA will be flying a 10-foot long, 6-inch diameter rocket to an altitude of 10,000 (+/- 2,000) feet carrying a payload at least 8.8 lbm in weight meeting ESRA standards for the competition. The rocket uses an M-class commercial hybrid motor with three solid motors in parallel. After covering all major systems (structures, propulsion and electronics) over the course of the day, we took a tour of UCLA’s rocket laboratory in the basement of Boelter Hall.

UCLA rocket lab tour

We thank Dr. Mitchell Spearrin for his invitation and hope to work with UCLA on testing their IREC rocket design in the near future at the MTA before the competition in June.

Dr. Mitchell Spearrin, UCLA MAE Dept.