In 2020, the first European university student rocketry competition was held. Named EuRoC, it took place in Ponte de Sor, Portugal from the 21st to 25th of October. Six teams from five countries attended the inaugural event. Four of the teams managed to launch their rockets. We sent Jacob Larsen as a CS representative to help ensure safe and smooth launch operations. This year, 20 student teams will be competing, and CS is also bringing a demonstration/inspiration rocket… or so was the plan.
After helping out the previous year, we received an invitation to launch a demonstration rocket at EuRoC 2021. At the same time, we need to bring in more manpower to design and build Spica. That’s why a small recruits team was formed, hitting two birds with one stone. The team consists of former DanSTAR members who couldn’t compete in student rocketry competitions anymore, but wanted to continue building rockets, as well as a other postgraduates and a group of young and highly motivated high school students who are interested in rocketry and want to learn more about it.
Since February of 2021, this team has been designing and building a liquid-fueled rocket at a record pace, using the experience and techniques developed by CS through the years. It will use a BPM5 engine fueled by liquid oxygen and ethanol running at double the normal chamber pressure and double the thrust, thereby becoming a BPM-10. The flight controller will be based on an Arduino Mega with a custom-designed shield for interfacing with engine sensors and peripheral electronics. This combination of existing CS experience and something as simple as Arduino hardware to control the rocket makes more sense than you think. Such simplifications help lower the entry bar for new recruits, and still makes for a rather potent demonstration rocket.
The pace has been very high, but it has also been proved that it is not possible to design and build such a bi-liquid rocket in half a year when team members have normal day jobs or studies to attend as well. The rocket will not be done before EuRoC this year. Instead, the team is currently looking into the possibilities of launching the rocket either from the baltic sea or at next year’s EuRoC competition.
As mentioned, we need more manpower to build Spica at a faster pace. That is why we are planning on continuing this initiative and taking in a new group of recruits each year to learn the ropes by building similar rockets. We hope to take up both people with previous rocketry experience, and people who are just interested in learning about rocketry. We want to help educate the next generation of aerospace engineers by taking up students on high school level who are interested in rocketry and giving them practical experience and context for further studies.
It is important to underline that the Spica project continues to be the main objective and focus of Copenhagen Suborbitals. It is however clear that building an amateur rocket capable of taking an astronaut above the Karman line is also a significant challenge. The recruits initiative is designed to expand the CS ranks, teaching lots of new members the basic aspects of designing and building rockets, subsequently enabling them to confidently step into and contribute to the completion of the Spica project.
Meet the team
If you haven’t already, you can watch the introduction video for the project here on our youtube channel to meet the first recruit team and have a look at the rocket.