Propulsion System Design for a Reusable Sub-orbital Rocket Launcher

Masters project by Team Rocket at the University of Strathclyde.


Blair Hutchison

Team role: Industry Interface
Technical role: Injection Plate Design

Blair acted as the main point of contact between the group and Tranquility Aerospace Ltd. This is a role that complemented his soft skills, and allowed for well organised communication between the two parties. Technically, Blair was mostly focused on the injector plate design for the propulsion system, although also spent some of his working time assisting Callum in his combustion CFD work. Blair found the difference in working approaches of the various group members to be interesting, and enjoyed the positive dynamic within the team.

Callum Harrower

Team role: Individual Project
Technical role: Combustion Chamber Analysis

Callum played a supporting role to the group, with his 4th year thesis work providing the basis for the design of the combustion chamber. His main responsibility lay in creating realistic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of the rocket engine which captured flow from injector face, through the combustion chamber and to the nozzle exit. This enabled multiple chamber configurations to be compared in terms of combustion efficiency, exit velocity and thrust. The model also allowed optimisation of the injector plate design, as well as validation of the nozzle. Although not a requirement of his individual project, Callum regularly attended group meetings and gained an understanding of the various other subsystem designs.

Ciara McGrath

Team role: Project Manager
Technical role: Pump Design

As a committee member of UKSEDS, Ciara had the greatest amount of background knowledge in spaceflight. This was particularly valuable during the research phase of the project, as she was able to provide useful advice to group members, helping them to overcome any obstacles they encountered. Ciara enjoyed the challenge involved with her technical work, and found the ability to discuss ideas and problems as a group greatly beneficial. Due to the highly interconnected nature of the subsystems being developed, Ciara gained an appreciation for the importance of integration planning early in the design phase.

Fraser McRoberts

Team role: Technical Manager/Project Manager
Technical role: Thermal Control System

During the formative stages of the project, Fraser took a lead role in the development of various project concepts. This allowed the group to present a number of considered project opportunities to Tranquility Aerospace Ltd during the initial client meeting. Later, Fraser acted as both technical manager and project manager. In these roles, he attempted to maintain an up to date knowledge of the various subsystem designs, and to help solve any problems that arose. Fraser learned a lot about different working styles, and by the end of the project had managed to improve upon his personal organisation and time-keeping skills.

Frazer McLean

Team role: Document Controller
Technical role: Nozzle Design

As the most technologically apt member of the group, Frazer took on the role of document controller, as well as responsibility for the development of the website. As document controller, Frazer was able to set up an automatically updating central repository for the data output from each subsystem. This aided in the integration of the various subsystem designs, allowing more time to be spent on technical work. Frazer enjoyed the challenge of working on a technical project of this scale, and gained new appreciation into the difficulties associated with the effective organisation of a team.

Wai Get Law

Team role: Record Keeper
Technical role: Pump Design

As record keeper, Wai was responsible for creating minutes for each meeting. This is a task he performed to a high standard and was praised for by other members of the group. His main technical focus was the feed system design. He initially found this task challenging, however was proud that by the end of the project he had managed to achieve the desired goals. Wai also assisted Frazer with compilation of the final report due to his knowledge of LaTeX.

Yuji Okamoto

Technical role: Thermal Control System

Yuji Okamoto, an exchange student from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, aided the group during the first semester of the project. Yuji’s main focus is in control systems engineering, which provided an alternate perspective for the group during some of the initial discussions. During his time with the group, Yuji was able to conduct preliminary investigation into the thermal control system.