The SEDS@UCSD team has taken another major step towards becoming the first-ever to launch a rocket, powered by an additively manufactured rocket engine.
As editor of additivemanufacturing.com, I see a lot of new ideas, new products and new ways of doing things cross my desk. It is energizing and inspiring; and so often, humbling.
When SEDS@UCSD invited AMazing to witness the third hot-fire test of their additively manufactured rocket engine on May 30, 2015 at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) launch site in California’s Mojave Desert, I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t be excited to see 750 lbs. of fiery thrust, powered by an explosive mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen?
From countdown to ignition to fiery thrust, the sequence was thrilling, suspenseful, and a mad adrenaline rush; not like a Happy New Years backward countdown moment but a fire breathing hang on to your crazy Kentucky Derby hat moment.
And certainly overshadowed by the momentous event, was the story within the story; the remarkable teamwork, dedication and perseverance of this undergraduate team of young men and women.
The team was certainly challenged early. The trek to the isolated test site itself; a long, dusty road that snakes between sand dunes will redefine your meaning of being alone to some unexpected early morning ignition problems that caused some angst and delay.
In spite of the challenges, the SEDS@UCSD team remained unyielding, responding to each challenge with the savvy and experience of a seasoned team.
The next scheduled test will involve launching the rocket, powered by an additively manufactured engine, at the FAR test site later this summer.
Our congratulations to these young men and women, destined to become future leaders, for pushing the limits of additive manufacturing.
*For more information about the hot-fire test, press here.
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