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NEWSLETTER Students for the Exploration and Development of Space ---University of California, San Diego

JULY 2013 Volume 1 Contents Welcome: -

How SEDS@UCSD all began

Advisors: Students for the Exploration and Development of Space 9500 Gilman Dr. MC0078 La Jolla, CA 92093-0078


Dr. Forman Williams – UC San Diego Combustion Professor Jonathan Jones – Marshall Space Flight Center Aerospace Engineer Carl Tedesco - Flometrics Senior Engineer Paul Breed – Unreasonable Rocket Design Advisor

3D Printed Injector Plate:


A first glance into the future of rocket science

The Static Fire System: -

Creating the test stand that will ensure workability

DIY Rocket Competition: -

The challenge to design a 3D Printable Rocket motor

The Future: -

A look into SEDS’s future goals

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Dr. Forman Williams

UCSD. Dr. Williams holds a PhD in Engineering Science and is renowned for his specialization in the field of combustion through nd his authoring of Combustion Theory (Addison, Wesley, 2 and coauthor of Fundamental Aspects of Combustion (Oxford, 1993). He received his BSE from Princeton University in 1955 and his PhD from California Institute of Technology in 1958. He then taught

Welcome Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is a globally recognized organization, with 36 chapters in the US, that is expanding rapidly around the world. The chapter at UC San Diego was founded during the 2012-2013 academic school year by Deepak Atyam, Joshua Benedictos, Kenneth Benedictos, Benjamin Liu, and Delphine Sherman. The founding President, Deepak Atyam, was inspired by a colleague, working on rocket engines, to pursue further research into metal printed motors. That colleague, and current SEDS@UCSD mentor, Jonathan Jones, assisted us in the development of complex rocket engines using a relatively simple precision device, a 3D printer. In theory the time and cost to manufacture an injector plate could be significantly reduced via the utilization of a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DLMS) printer. With the assistance and guidance of Marshall Space Flight Center and other prominent individuals in the Aerospace field, SEDS@UCSD became a group of undergraduate researchers on a mission to design, print, and test the feasibility of 3D printed rocket engines. As a tight knit team of engineering students working diligently, SEDS has become a well-established organization at San Diego, in the span of just a few months.

is the staff advisor for SEDS at

at Harvard University until 1964 and later remained at UCSD since 1988. Dr. Williams generously provided work space in his combustion lab on campus for the SEDS team to assemble their static fire test system.

Jonathan Jones,

an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space

Flight Center, has been an advisor for SEDS since the formation of the club. He introduced the concept of 3D printing and challenged SEDS to design the injector plate providing advice on the dimensions and warning the team about common mistakes to avoid while designing a rocket’s propulsion system. He He also also provided providedSEDS SEDSaccess accesstotoGPI GPIPrototype Prototype propulsion system. && Manufacturing SerManufacturing Services, Inc., aand rapid prototyping and additive vices, Inc., a rapid prototyping additive manufacturing servicemanufaccompany that printed out turing that printed out the 3D rocket engine the 3Dservice rocket company engine design.

Carl Tedesco

is the technical advisor for SEDS, providing

workspace at his engineering company, Flometrics, in Carlsbad, CA. He currently holds the position as senior engineer at Flometrics, responsible for the design, fabrication, analysis, testing, and documentation of consumer products from medical devices to spacecraft components. Mr. Tedesco received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1997) as well as his Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering (2004) from San Diego State University (SDSU). He served as the advisor/mentor for the SDSU Rocket Project since 2003 and currently maintains that position today. Mr. Tedesco has taught Fluid Mechanics courses at SDSU as well as provided a great deal of information and physical assistance in the assembly and plumbing of the SEDS static fire system.

Paul Breed, a prominent engineer in the Aerospace field, is an advisor for SEDS who has counseled the club as well as donated numerous parts for the static fire test system. Paul Breed is the current owner of Netburner and has served as Network Management Engineer at Argon Networks, Shiva, and Cabletron. A graduate from Harvey Mudd College, Paul Breed is most notable for his blog “Unreasonable Rocket,” in which he documents the projects that he constructs in his garage. A striking individual in st the area of 3D printing, he designed and printed the 1 successfully flown liquid fueled 3D rocket engine.


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3D Printed Injector Plate UCSD became the first university in the world to design and print a liquid fueled metal rocket engine. Starting with a group of eager and determined students in the field of rocket science, SEDS began reading books, learning rocket equations, and working out graduate school level problems prior to acquiring knowledge on injector plate and combustion chamber designs. Through their continual research and the help of their mentors, SEDS was able to engineer their own rocket motor with unique upstream manifolding, specifically utilizing the advantages

2012-2013 Timeline

of choice using a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printer. Unfortunately, upon receiving the team’s printed engine, the 3D printing company didn’t manufacture the motor as was detailed.

October -

Project Assigned by Jonathan Jones

November – January -

Pictured: 3D printed Regeneratively Cooled Liquid Fueled Rocket Engine

of 3D printing. The injector plate’s orifice pattern features a F-O-O-F element pattern with two outer fuel orifices converging with two inner oxidizer orifices. An innovative boundary film cooling layer, with a spiral orientation, was incorporated in the design in an attempt to concentrate the propellant combustion to the center so that heat flux could be decreased on the chamber walls. In addition, a regenerative cooling jacket was designed to encase the engine from the throat to the nozzle. The regeneratively cooled jacket is used to improve the performance, and lifespan of the motor. With the finalized design, SEDS decided to print the engine with cobalt-chromium as the material

Any testing of the propulsion system was postponed until early-October 2013. SEDS members that are at UCSD for the summer are working on finalizing the testing stand, working on a data acquisition system, and obtaining sensors to measure thermal fluctuations and pressure in the engine. The printed engine has been shipped to Langley Research Center where technicians are working with President, Deepak Atyam, to try and correct the manufacturing error.


Reviewed Textbooks: Studying textbooks and documents on rocket propulsion to ensure understanding of the rocket equations and designs

February -

Applied rocket equations to given parameters to determine dimensions for the rocket engine

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The Static Fire System

March -

Fundraising: The SEDS team took every opportunity to barbeque a homemade recipe of delicious marinated chicken at campus events in order to buy parts and materials

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Determined injector plate element pattern (FOOF): Compared the pros and cons of various element patterns and concluded that the FOOF design was best suited for optimum engine performance

With a finalized design of the engine, it was essential for SEDS to test their system in order to gauge the feasibility and efficiency of creating a rocket motor via the method of 3D printing. To test a rocket engine a contraption called a Static Fire System is used,

Pictured: SEDS Static Fire System

aptly named due to the immobile nature of the structure, to conduct the experiment. The Static Fire System was conceptualized and fabricated by the SEDS team. It will be implemented to determine whether or not 3D printed rocket motors can meet their expected level of performance. Prior to fabrication of the test stand, a schematic of the entire system was drawn to scale and the team gathered necessary parts through donations, borrowing, and various fundraisers. The static fire test apparatus consists of a pressure-fed system that utilizes two separate tanks holding liquid oxygen and RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1), respectively. The tanks are followed by a system of pipes, fittings, and actuators that lead to the engine. However, before assembly, a flow-test of the injector plate was performed to ensure the orifices were not clogged, which might have occurred during printing. In addition,


the pneumatic valves were successfully tested with liquid oxygen to check for proper function in subzero temperatures. Countless hours were spent on the design and construction of the static fire test system to ensure safety and reliability. After completion, a pressure test was conducted to assure that all valves were properly working. Lastly, a leak test was done with a highly sensitive solution called “Snoop,� which bubbled at locations on the test apparatus that were leaking air during the pressure test. This pin pointed areas that needed to be either tightened or re-fitted to prevent leakage. Once assembly was complete and all tests confirmed faultless working components, the static fire test system was complete. The entire system will be mounted to a grounded I-beam at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) launch site in Mojave, California, and will be fired in early-October, 2013.

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DIY Competition The DIY Rocket Competition is a contest created by DIYRockets Inc. and is dedicated to lowering the cost of space exploration through cooperative efforts by its contestants. The objective of the competition itself is to create a collaborative design and a business case for safe and cost-efficient 3D printed rocket engines that are capable of carrying up to 10kg payloads into Low Earth Orbit. SEDS-UCSD’s design won Best Student Team taking home $2,500 prize money as well as each team member receiving $165 in credit for 3D printing at Shapeways printing center This past year we have designed, analyzed, and printed a 200lb thrust rocket engine that is soon to be tested in the Mojave this upcoming October. UCSD will be the first University in the world to have accomplished this and if successful, will be the first entity out of NASA to have tested the feasibility of 3D parts to this level.

SEDS has currently designed an engine that acts as the third stage of a NanoSat launcher capable of attaining 200lbs of thrust. If the static fire test is successful, it will be confirmed that 3D printers are a viable option for producing entire rocket engines of this size, not just individual components. With the assistance SEDS received from local companies and from the first person in the world that has designed, printed, and tested metal rocket engines, Paul Breed, the SEDS team believes that they will succeed in their static fire test. Their next step, after a successful static fire, would be to conduct a proof of concept test in an attempt to design, print, and test the first stage of a three stage NanoSat launcher. If triumphant, it will be theoretically proven that all 3 stages of a NanoSat launch vehicle can be printed for a fraction of the cost and time with sizeable increase in performance, efficiency, and accuracy.

First Print with a Plastic Printer


Printed plastic 3D Injector plate with a Makerbot plastic printer. Got a first look at the physical model of the proposed injector plate


Flow tested plastic injector plate with water. Analyzed potential printing errors and improved design to prevent faults in the final metal printing of the injector plate


The resolution of the Makerbot Replicator 2 plastic printer wasn’t able to print every orifice precise to its dimensions which blocked the impingement of some holes.



Static Fire System Design began.


Construction of the static fire test apparatus: acquired skills in pipe bending, flaring, and honed machining skills.

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The Future

June -

3D printed rocket motor received in two separate parts.

After the DIY Competition, SEDS@UCSD will continue their endeavor for space exploration and expand their network as well as gain visibility in the Aerospace industry. This will be done by attending conferences and communicating with prominent professionals and industries. In the past, the SED team members engaged in industry tours specifically with Space-X and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In addition, they organized dinners with professionals where they conversed and learned about the individual’s job and experience working in the Aerospace field. In the future, SEDS plans on attending the AIAA Space 2013 Conference & Exposition in September 2013, which will be hosted in San Diego. They will find out what lies ahead in the


Hydro-tested metal injector plate and completed static fire system assembly.

Not Pictured: Edmond Ngo, Jin Oh


latest innovations in space technology as well as showcase their past year’s project as they discuss their work, challenges, and solutions. Later, the team members will relocate to Arizona State University from November 7th to November 10th in order to participate in the SEDS SpaceVision conference. This event will demonstrate the cooperative efforts of scientists and engineers with business people, artists, and journalists who will continue to make our civilization a space faring one. SEDS@UCSD also plans to write a technical paper and submit it for entry to the AIAA Region VI Student Conference in 2014. Furthermore, SEDS plans on entering other various competitions to continue their growing passion for space exploration and development of new technologies.

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Club Officers

Edmond Ngo Treasurer

Deepak Atyam President

Benjamin Liu Chapter Representative

Joshua Benedictos Vice-President

Kenneth Benedictos Secretary

Special thanks to:

Garvey Spacecraft Corporation


SEDS Newsletter '13  

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space(SEDS) at UC San Diego presents it's first Newsletter highlighting the rocket engine re...

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