UKZN’s aerospace research group unveils hybrid rocket

2014-08-01 00:00

THE Aerospace Systems Research Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will today unveil its Phoenix- 1A Hybrid Rocket.

The research group is attached to UKZN’s School of Mechanical Engineering on the Howard College campus. The rocket was designed and engineered by Masters students.

The UKZN aerospace research group, led by Michael Brooks and Jean Pitot, was established in 2009 and focuses on the development of propulsion systems.

The Phoenix Hybrid Sounding Rocket Programme aims to develop a series of small sub-orbital or sounding rockets that will eventually carry scientific instruments into the upper atmosphere.

The instruments will gather measurements and then be brought back to Earth where researchers can analyse the data.

The Phoenix “hybrid rocket” uses a solid fuel made of wax, and a liquid oxidiser consisting of nitrous oxide.

It will not go into space as it is sub-orbital, but researchers expect it to attain an altitude of about five kilometres. The motor of the rocket burns for 20 seconds and produces a maximum thrust of three kilonewtons.

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