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# Portland State Aerospace Society

[[!img PSAS_group_2011.jpg size="500x335" class="picture"]]

**Portland State Aerospace Society** (PSAS) is an educational aerospace project at [Portland State University](http://pdx.edu/) in [Portland, Oregon](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland,_Oregon). We are a team of students, alumni, and local community members who have a love for learning through difficult, hands-on, cross-disciplinary engineering projects. Over the last decade we have been designing and building world class experimental rockets.

We are dedicated to an open approach to engineering — sharing what we learn with the larger educational and amateur rocket community.

[[!toc levels=3]]

## Our Goals

[[!img 4-1999_launch.jpg size="200x200" align="left" style="padding:15px;"]]

Our long term goal is to put a *tiny satellite into orbit*. We know just haw hard a problem that is! There are many technical, logistical, financial, and legal issues to work through. We may never never get there, but having this goal allows us to ask the question: “what's the first step in the process?”

We focus on small, ongoing projects that move us toward our long-term goal. These projects involve all aspects of aerospace engineering, from soft-ware and embedded systems development to electrical and mechanical engineering. We do everything ourselves, from simulation and data analysis to controls engineering and communication system design.

The rockets we build fall into the class of “amateur rocketry” — smaller than commercial rockets, larger than model rockets. We certainly haven't built the biggest or highest altitude amateur rocket, but we do hope that we're building one of the most sophisticated.

<div style="clear:both;"></div>

## Areas of Work

### Avionics  

Avionics are the computer &ldquo;brains&rdquo; of the rocket. We're trying to be one of the first amateur groups in the world to make an actively guided rocket&mdash;<em>i.e.</em>, a rocket that is autonomously guided by an on-board computer.

 - [[Avionics home page|Avionics]]

### Airframe

We're working on modular airframe sections to reduce the weight and cost of the rocket while increasing adaptability. Airframe sections are easily swappable, as are the fins and skin. Technically speaking, we're hoping to push our mass fraction up as high as possible&mdash;beyond 60% for a single stage vehicle&mdash;while still maintaining robustness.

Our current airframe is still heavy, and is being used as a simple test-bed for the avionics. We are now in the beginning stages of designing a next-gen light airframe to start pushing the mass-fraction boundaries.

[[Airframe Team home page|Airframe]]

[[smalllv2airframe.jpg]]

### Propulsion

Propulsion's mission is to develop the hardware for vectored thrust. We are developing a ~50 lbf liquid kerosene and oxygen thruster.

[[Propulsion Team home page|PropulsionTeamHome]]

[[Smallo.jpg]]

### Ground

Since our launch sites and times are dictated by the FAA and the whims of the weather, our ground systems are designed to be as mobile and flexible as possible. The ground systems include the launch tower, launch control module, [[Communications]], [[Software]], and logistical equipment.

[[Ground Team home page|GroundTeamHome]]

[[SmallLaunchTower.jpg]]

## What have you done so far?

We've successfully launched a number complete rocket systems so far:

[[!img rockets.png size="800x404"]]

### [[Launch Vehicle No. 0 (LV0)|LV0]] - 1998

[[!img SmallLV0.jpg class="picture"]]

This 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)|/news/1998-06-07]]

<br class="clear" /> 

### [[Launch Vehicle No. 1 (LV1)|LV1]] - 1999

[[!img WheresLV1.jpg class="picture"]]

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 emergency uplink system, inertial sensors, and a more advanced telemetry system. 

[[(Launch Results and Videos)|/news/1999-04-11]]

<br class="clear" /> 

### [[Launch Vehicle No. 1b (LV1b)|LV1/Payload/LV1b_Payload]] - 2000&ndash;2

[[!img Lv1bIMU.jpg class="picture"]]

LV 1b used the same airframe as LV1 and flew in October of 2000 to 3.53km (11,600ft). The only change to the vehicle was a major upgrade to the avionics system: we added a GPS, upgraded the flight computer and improved the inertial measurement unit. This was our step towards the the electronics system necessary to do active guidance.

[[(Launch Results and Videos)|/news/2000-10-07]]

<br class="clear" /> 

### [[Launch Vehicle No 2|LV2b_Conceptual_Design]] - 2003&ndash;present

LV2 is our current generation vehicle. It has a modular design and a robust, redundant, dual deploy system and lots of room for electronics. We have launched this airframe several times.  Unfortunately our [[2005 launch resulted in a complete loss of the vehicle|news/2005-08-20]]. Since then we have rebuilt the airframe with a few upgrades and [[resumed flying in 2009|news/2009-05-31/]].  We continue to innovate, adding a [[roll control|rollcontrol]] module for our [[flight in June 2010|LV2c_LaunchData-2010-06-27]].  We will hopefully re-integrate our earlier full avionics stack and then move on to bigger, lighter airframes and a yet more advanced flight computer before 2011.

[[!img airframe/openRocket_labeled.png size="500x500"]]


We also try and reach out to the community as much as possible. We're a regular attendee at [[OMSI&#39;s Space Days|/news/1999-07-18]], we've done many educational presentations to local middle and high schools, and we're strong advocates of cross-discipline engineering projects at Portland State. 


## What are your current projects?

We are still working with LV2. We have successfully launched and the airframe as a hardware test (in addition to several previous launches of the same design). Each subsequent launch includes a new piece to test as we push the envelope of "amateur" rocket systems. LV2 project variants include active roll control and spin-can flights. We are now starting to think larger and more complex; with projects involving staging and guidance in the works.

<!--
We're currently working on the next generation vehicle, called [[Launch Vehicle No. 2|ProjectLV2]] (LV2). The modular airframe and recovery systems were first launched in [[2002|news/2002-09-22]]. When all subsystems are complete it will have a projected altitude of 21km (70,000ft), an advanced avionics system which will be the basis for our active guidance system, a modular airframe system, and perhaps most importantly, build on everything we&#39;ve learned from the last three rockets. LV2 is partially funded from a $10,000 grant from the NASA Space Grant Program. A [[Usenix2003Paper]] giving an overview of the project and focusing on the software of the avionics system will be presented at <a href="http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix03" target="_top">USENIX 2003</a>.

We've also been working on paraffin-oxygen hybrid rocket motor technology and have a lab-scale rocket motor which is helping direct the design of a full-scale motor. 
[[LV2CAD.jpg]]

-->


## Are you sharing all of these developments?

You bet. All projects we do are open source, from our CAD drawings to schematic diagrams to our software. We pride ourselves in sharing what we learn with the world of amateur rocket enthusiasts, and with our ability to collaborate with other groups.

## Can I get involved?

[[!img typicalmeeting.jpg class="picture"]]

Absolutely! We need the help! We're looking for anyone who is interested in rocketry or engineering. There are thousands of problems to tackle, ranging from stoachastic control theory to airframe design to computer programming to logistics support. [[Contact us|Contacts]], or drop in on [[a meeting|Schedule]], and we'll introduce you to the project and let you decide where you want to fit in! Here's a quick blurb for [[NewMembers]].

If you represent an organization interested in supporting our group, please [[contact us|Contacts]] about [[Donate]]. A huge thanks to our [[Sponsors]], without whom we'd have never made it this far.

<br class="clear" /> 

## 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.

If you would like to keep up with the major developments in our group, there is a moderated mailing list that's open to the public. We'll be posting major announcements such as launch events, grants won, etc. (think &quot;press releases&quot;): you can sign up at <a href="http://lists.psas.pdx.edu/mailman/listinfo/psas-announce" target="_top">http://lists.psas.pdx.edu/mailman/listinfo/psas-announce</a>.

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