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 this here.

TEST FLIGHT #1

On October 7th Into the Blue flew for the first time. It flew on an M motor and was a complete success. Here is a summary of the data gathered from the first flight.

APOGEE

18,123 ft

PEAK VELOCITY

Mach 1.44

PEAK ACCELERATION

16.82 g




TEST FLIGHT #2

On December 10th Into the Blue flew with the same size motor as test flight #1, but this time our active braking system was put to the test for the first time. The rocket flew to 5500m on test flight #1, and this flight we wanted the air-brakes to reduce this apogee down to 4700m. It achieved this goal perfectly and got within 20 meters of the target altitude. This is a huge milestone for the UC Aerospace team and the system will be continually improved upon to allow for pin-point accurate apogees to be achieved.

APOGEE (NO AIRBRAKES)

18,123 ft

APOGEE (AIRBRAKES)

15,472 ft

PEAK
VELOCITY

Mach 1.26

PEAK ACCELERATION

16.3 g







TEST FLIGHT #3

Into the Blue flew for its third and final test flight at the New Zealand Rocketry Association national launch day before its flight in April at the AURC. It was blasted to 31,000ft at a top speed of Mach 1.4. The airbrakes failed to deploy on this flight due to certain flight criteria’s not being met. This has since been updated to adjust for this discrepancy. However, this flight verified that the airframe can take fly on an N sized motor which is what it was built around.

APOGEE

31,167 ft

PEAK VELOCITY

Mach 1.40

PEAK ACCELERATION

17.54 g

COMPETITION FLIGHT #1

Into the Blue flew its first competition flight at Thunda Down Unda 2019 for the AURC competition on April 19th. It was carrying its 4 kg payload and the airbrakes were ready. With a simulated apogee of 34,000ft the airbrakes had to bring down that apogee to the 30,000ft target. The airbrakes deployed for approximately 5 seconds before detecting a false apogee when passing through the supersonic region of flight, which caused the brakes to retract back into the airframe. Although this was not intended to happen the apogee was still reduced to 32,000ft, which was a great outcome and gave the necessary data to improve the airbrakes for the final competition flight.

APOGEE (NO AIRBRAKES)

34,000ft

APOGEE (AIRBRAKES)

32,000ft

PEAK
VELOCITY

Mach 2.05

PEAK ACCELERATION

20 g

COMPETITION FLIGHT #2

Into the Blue flew its final competition flight for the AURC competition on April 20th. Again, the simulated apogee was 34,000ft and the airbrakes had to bring this down to 30,000ft. The airbrakes deployed and brought the apogee down to 30,700ft. This was a monumental moment for the UC Aerospace team as we had proven that the airbrakes were not only a viable option for the competition, but it also gave us a huge advantage in the competition. This apogee could have been further reduced by increasing the rate at which the brakes deploy.

APOGEE (NO AIRBRAKES)

34,000ft

APOGEE (AIRBRAKES)

30,700ft

PEAK
VELOCITY

Mach 2.05

PEAK ACCELERATION

20 g

INTO THE BLUE - CONSTRUCTION & TESTING

INTO THE BLUE - AURC 2019