Into the Black is a two-stage passively stabilized
extremely high-powered sounding rocket. The rocket is designed with high strength materials due to
the nature of its mission. Powered by advanced solid fuel compositions the goal of Into the Black is
to cross the Kármán line (100km apogee) and become the first rocket designed and built by a
University to reach space.
Into the Black flies on motors that are made by our team with a total impulse of both stages falling
in at around 36,500N.s. Off the shelf avionics is used to monitor flight with in-house built
telemetry systems to track the rocket up to its target altitude. The rocket takes off from an 8-meter
launch tower and gets propelled into the sky reaching a top speed of Mach 5.6 and apogee of around
140km. Total flight time is around 13 minutes and descent is controlled by a single drogue parachute.
At touchdown the sustainer will be out at sea where a custom-built flotation device will inflate
using CO2 acting as a main parachute and keeping the rocket afloat while rescue helicopters recover
CUSTOM BUILT MOTORS
The booster on Into the Black is powered by an O
motor and the sustainer is powered by an M motor. All these motors were designed and built by the
team using highly efficient compositions and packing methods, which is the driving force to allow
this rocket to pass the Kármán line.
HIGH STRENGTH COMPOSITES
The booster motor casing is built using carbon
fibre making it extremely light and amongst the first of its kind. The booster fin cans are built
with carbon fibre with a layer of high-temperature pre-impregnated fibreglass. The same
pre-impregnated fibreglass is used to create the nose-cone.
The sustainers fin cans are made using 3D printed
titanium that goes through vigorous heat treatment, and the reason for this material selection is
to minimize the chance of fin flutter in-flight. The interstage is manufactured from high-grade
aluminium to incredibly tight tolerances, and high-grade stainless steel is used for the nose-tip.
Read more on Into the Black here:
MEET INTO THE BLUE
Into the Blue is an experimental sounding rocket designed to reach exactly 30,000ft. It contains an
active air-braking system that alters the coefficient of drag in order to precisely target a desired
altitude. After beginning construction in April 2018, Into the Blue has successfully flown 6 times on
K, M and N class motors.
Into the Blue’s airframe consists of fibreglass body tubes, fibreglass nosecone, carbon fibre
tip-to-tip fins with stainless steel leading edges, carbon fibre coupler and a stainless-steel nose
tip. The airbrakes are made up with 3D printed titanium joints, and an aluminium casing. The rocket
uses a dual-deploy parachute system that includes a drogue parachute and a main parachute to safely
bring the rocket back to the ground.
Real-time telemetry is used to monitor each flight. The data is processed and sent to an online
database where it is then integrated to our live dashboard where all aspects of the flight can be
monitored by anyone around the world.
Into the Blue was designed and built to fly a 4 kg payload as part if the Australian Universities
Rocket Competition. During the competition flights, Into the Blue flew a biological sample to
30,000ft, studying the effects of microgravity on a sample of yeast. You can read much more about
Read more on Into the Blue here:
year Mechanical Engineering student and a founding member of UC Aerospace. He has a passion for all
things that break the sound barrier. Within the team he specialises in logistics, composites work
and launch day organisation. In his spare time he can be found in the mountains skiing.
in his 4th year at UC, studying Mechatronics Engineering. He oversees all of the UC Aerospace
projects, and can be found in the Mechatronics room building robots. He lead the design and
development of the active air-braking system, and is now helping the development of the next
Jack is a
4th year Mechanical Engineering student and founding member of UC Aerospace. His role as
Engineering Lead is to oversee concept generation, design and construction for all UCA projects. In
his free time, he enjoys climbing and the outdoors, or can be found working on anything that flies.
a 4th year Software Engineering student at UC. He is currently working on software to establish a
long range, real time telemetry connection to UCA's rockets as they fly. In his free time, he
enjoys growing his small software development company and working on his personal software
is in his 4th year of studying mechanical engineering at UC, He helps coordinate team structure and
supervises the flight certification teams. He also assists in the composites and airframe
manufacture of UCA’s high altitude rockets. In his spare time he can be found working on working on
his motorbike and other personal projects.
studies 3rd year Mechatronics Engineering. As an Aircraft Technician and general UCA team member,
he assists with practical matters while building rocketry experience. Is often found trail running,
gardening or building autonomous aircraft.
Thomas is in his 4th year at UC, studying
Mechatronics Engineering. He oversees design and manufacture of various components for UC Aerospace
projects. He can be found rock climbing, up a mountain, or behind a lathe in the mechanical
Operational Data Team Lead
A 4th year mechanical engineering student
focusing on the software side of the UC Aerospace rockets. He focuses on the transmission, and
processing of data for all of our rockets. In his spare time he can be seen working with 3D
computer graphics and simulators.
AURC Team Lead
Kieran is a 3rd year Mechatronics
Engineering student at UC. He assists in general construction, software, systems and generally
being pedantic for UCA projects and helps develops components within these areas. In his spare time
he enjoys long-distance cycling, working on personal projects or listening to Jazz. He has also
adopted the nickname of 'Intern' being the youngest member.
AURC Vice Lead
Jessica is a 3rd year Mechatronics student
at the University of Canterbury. Her roles involve designing mechatronic control systems, team
management and fabrication. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and instant photography.
Flight Certification Lead
Jacob is the technical lead for Level 1 and also runs social media for UCA. He is currently a 2nd year mechatronics student. In his spare time you will find him 3D printing and making personal projects.
DR DAN ZHAO
Zhao is an academic in the mechanical engineering department whose research focuses on propulsion,
aeroacoustics and aerodynamics. He is also an AIAA associate fellow.
DR SARAH KESSANS
Kessans is a lecturer in the UC College of Engineering's School of Product Design. As a biochemist
and synthetic biologist with a passion for space exploration, Sarah is working to create solutions
for sustaining life both on and off Earth, as well as developing technology that will make this
been a member of staff in UC Mechanical Engineering for 6 years. The favorite part of his job is
supporting students working on really cool projects like rocketry. Innovation, elegant design, and
doing what can’t be done are all things that make him happy. In his free time he works on his own
design and build projects, balanced with busy family life.