Project Penrose is among the youngest initiatives within our team. Since spring 2022 we have been building a rocket powered by a self made hybrid engine. Our final goal is to participate at EuRoC, the biggest rocketry competition for students in all of Europe.
A hybrid engine that has been developed in house is the heart of our rocket. Hybrid engines are a combination of liquid and solid propellant engines. A solid propellant is burnt together with a liquid oxidizer. This way to construct an engine offers maximum security, reduces complexity and allows us to learn a lot. While the solid part (grain) is consists of polymers, the liquid part (oxidator) constitutes an innovation among student teams. That’s because Penrose uses liquid oxygen instead of commonly used nitrous-oxide. This increases efficiency by a huge amount, but creates very special/interesting challenges due to the cryogenic (= very cold) temperatures. As of writing this the development and production of the first prototype has already been completed. To make it flight-ready a few changes and tests of the prototype are still required.
That is why we need a test stand, the development of which is an important part of the project and our main focus over the course of the first few months. The test stand should be usable by the space team long-term, even after our project is completed. That means for different types of engines that have varying specifications. At the moment the test stand development is almost done. The only bits missing are a few electronics and important valves.
Airframe, Avionics & Recovery
As of right now the plan is to take inspiration from µ Houbolt and late STR models. That means using a clamp band based recovery system and a carbon fibre hardened plastic pipe.
Until now the focus has been on the propulsion system and developing the test stand.
Just like big rockets, Penrose needs a payload for EuRoC. Details about this remain confidential, but we can tell you that we already have all sorts of ideas…
We also highly value documenting our work. Of course we do so in English so that student teams around the world can learn from our mistakes, as opposed to only sharing insights internally.
On that note we need to mention that not all of our work is of technological nature. Organisational tasks make up a big part of what we do: marketing, HR, graphic design, photography, etc.