summaryrefslogtreecommitdiff
path: root/Introduction.mdwn
blob: 7247b5a320b4728e40f52058d49ebede345611a6 (plain)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
<table align="center" border=0 cellpadding=0 cellspacing=0 width="40%">
  <tr>
    <td align="CENTER" bgcolor="#000000">
      <p><font color="#ffffff">Welcome to the web page of the</font><br><font color="#00c400" size="+3">Portland State Aerospace Society</font><br><b><font color="#ffffff">also known as the<br> Portland State University Branch of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics System Society (AESS)</font></b><br><font color="#ffffff">(a society of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers)</font></p>
      <p><img border=0 height=151 src="/psas/Resources/graphics/planet2.JPG" width=727></p>
    </td>
  </tr>
</table>

## <a name="What is the PSAS?"></a> What is the PSAS?

The Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) is a non-profit aerospace project at **Portland State University** in Portland, Oregon. We're a group of:

- undergraduate and graduate students,
- faculty and staff,
- and local community members (from high school students to business executives)

who have a passion for aerospace.

## <a name="What does the PSAS do?"></a> What does the PSAS do?

![](/psas/Current_project/LV-1/Payload/Resources/FC_Intro.jpg) We have decided to focus our energies on a particular engineering project: we're designing, building and launching small <font>sounding rockets</font>. These are small to medium-sized rockets that are "suborbital" - meaning they can reach extreme altitudes, but then fall down back to the Earth (i.e., they don't go into orbit). Sounding rockets are useful for scientific research, including astronomy, earth science, and materials science, and of course for research in aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering.

We're certainly not building the largest amateur rocket, or one that will reach the highest altitude, but we do hope we're building one of the most advanced amateur rockets. We're focusing our energies in three major areas:

- **Advanced Avionics** - Avionics are the computer "brains" of the rocket. We're trying to be one of the first amateur groups in the world to make a computer-guided rocket. Government, military and commercial organizations have all done computer-guided rockets, but most cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. We're hoping to make an amateur version that is smaller and cheaper, but just as adaptable and intelligent. In rocket speak, we're hoping to build an amateur <font>GPS-aided inertial navigation system</font> using commercially available inertial sensors (micromachined accelerometers and fiber optic gyroscopes) coupled with a thrust vector control system.
- **Adaptable Airframes** - Instead of making a patchwork of balsa wood and cardboard, we're working on a system that uses modular, <font>machined-aluminum airframe sections</font> to reduce weight and cost but increase adaptability. Airframe sections are easily swappable and will be covered with a thin composite skin. In rocket speak, we're trying to push our <font>mass fraction</font> up as high as possible - beyond 60% for a single stage vehicle - while still maintaining robustness.
- ![](/psas/Resources/graphics/omotor3.JPG)**High Energy Motors** - Given the number of launches we would like to do in the future, we are developing our own motors. Using an industry standard Ammonium Perchlorate/Aluminum composite formula, our solid rocket motors are in the <font>10K-60K N-sec range</font>. In the future we'll move to hybrids for their safety and controllability.

## <a name="Are you sharing all of these dev"></a> Are you sharing all of these developments?

You bet. All projects we do are <font>open source</font>, from the schematic diagrams to the software to the documentation. We pride ourselves in sharing what we learn and develop with the world of amateur rocket enthusiasts.

## <a name="So what have you done so far?"></a> So what have you done so far?

We've successfully launched three rockets so far:![](/psas/Resources/graphics/tower.JPG)

1. [Launch Vehicle No. 0](/psas/Current_project/LV-0/Project_Navigation_LV-0.html) (LV0) was our first launch in June of 1998 to 366m (1,200ft). It was our first rocket and a proof of concept for some of our radio systems, including real-time broadcast video. It was a great introduction to amateur rocketry for many of us [(Launch Results and Videos)](/psas/Schedule/Monroe6_7_98/6_7_98.html).
2. [Launch Vehicle No. 1](/psas/Current_project/LV-1/Lv1menu.html) (LV1) was our next rocket that flew in April of 1999 to 3.6km (12,000ft). It was our proof of concept for several new systems, including a manual control system, inertial sensors, and a more advanced telemetry system [(Launch Results and Videos)](/psas/Schedule/Bend4_11_99/Bend4_11_99.html).
3. <font>Launch Vehicle No. 1b</font> (LV1b) was the same rocket as LV1, but with improved avionics (electronics) which flew in October of 2000 to 3.53km (11,600ft). We added a GPS, upgraded the flight computer and improved the inertial sensors. This was our first real stab at the computing power and sensors necessary to do computer guidance; we're right in the middle of processing the data from this launch and are excited about its implications [(Launch Results and Videos)](/psas/Schedule/Bend10_7_00/Bend10_7_00html.html).

We've also developed "M"-class <font>solid motors</font>, test stand equipment for motor testing, and the beginning of a mobile infrastructure including a [[launch tower|LaunchTower]], a [[launch control module|LaunchControlModule]], and the various logistical equipment and skills a group needs to do successful field operations.

We also try and reach out to the community as much as possible. We're a regular attendee at [OMSI's Space Days](/psas/Schedule/OMSI/OMSI99.html), we've done many educational presentations and we're an advocate of cross-discipline engineering projects at Portland State.

## <a name="What are your current projects?"></a> What are your current projects?

We're currently working on the next generation vehicle, called [Launch Vehicle No. 2](/psas/Current_project/LV-2/LV2menu.html) (LV2) which should be ready to launch in fall of 2002. It has a projected altitude of 21km (70,000ft), has an advanced avionics system which we hope to use for real computer guidance, a modular air frame system, and most of all it'll build on everything we've learned from the last three rockets. LV2 is currently funded through a $10,000 grant from the <font>NASA Space Grant Program</font>.

## <a name="What&#39;s your ultimate objective?"></a> What's your ultimate objective?

We have a "vision statement" - i.e., a goal which we're heading towards but may not reach as a small univesity club. Our vision is to put "<font>Nanosatellites into Orbit</font>". In other words, we want to put very tiny little satellites (think something on order of a coke can) into orbit around the Earth. That's a very hard, expensive and time-consuming thing to do; it's very possible that we may never reach that goal. But that's ok; we're taking the small steps necessary to get there, and for us the journey and the learning is all part of the fun.

## <a name="Can I get involved?"></a> Can I get involved?

Absolutely! We need the help!

We're looking for anyone who is interested in space or technology, people who have a love for seeing a complex system come together. There are tasks from control theory analysis to airframe design to computer programming to logistics support that we need help with. [[Contact us|Contacts]], or drop in on [[one of our meetings|Schedule]], and we'll integrate you into whatever you're interested in doing within the context of the PSAS.

## <a name="Do you have more information ava"></a> Do you have more information available?

This site contains all of the information we have on our project. We do have printed materials available for donors, press, and potential payload developers; please [[contact us|Contacts]] if you're interested in this.

![](/psas/Resources/graphics/psasgroup1.jpg)