Students for the Exploration and Development of Space have been busy developing projects that may be used in future space exploration.
Members have been meeting weekly to discuss plans for an upcoming solid fuel rocket they are designing for a competition. The relatively new club just formed in January, but leaders hope to continue working on more projects related to space exploration, space science or engineering.
Last month, club members fired experimental motors for the rocket using sugar and potassium nitrate. The rocket is designed to be several pieces that break away as it gains altitude. The final design is aiming for a slender, tall build made of light-weight materials.
Club founder and treasurer Elliott Befus explains that when the rocket gets to a certain height, the altimeter sends an electrical short to a gunpowder deposit, which causes the different segments of the rocket to separate. Before separating, the individual pieces are held together by pressure from the top of the rocket, so the pieces will easily break apart when launched.
The target height they are aiming for is a minimum of 3,000 feet. It will be in the air for a short period of time, roughly a minute.
The club has partnered with the Utah Rocket Club to launch their rocket at an event held at the Salt Flats in mid-October, and all are welcome to observe.
The club is also working on another project, the Maleri. They have been working on the Maleri for the Micro-g NExT competition since August, and will be taking it to a competition hosted in Houston by NASA.
The Maleri is a type of anchor that is designed to be used on the surface of asteroids. Asteroids are mainly made of loose sand and rocks that are held together by gravity.
The design is a reusable pole that deposits a 3D-printed, single-use drill piece into the ground. The drill piece has a cord attached so objects can be tethered and secured in place. The drill is not meant to be removed; it has been designed for use by astronauts going on space walks.
The tether needs to resist up to 15 pounds for the competition, but the tether the club has created exceeds the requirements by resisting up to 100 pounds.
Befus explains that club members gain the ability to learn about a very exciting and rapidly growing industry full of opportunities. The club also helps students get a foothold in the industry by participating in engineering projects that can look great on a resume.
Touring facilities and guest speakers are some of the future events that Befus says he would like to see happen in the future.
The club meets every Friday at 3 p.m. in room 060 of the Science and Industry Building at Taylorsville Redwood Campus. All students are welcome to join meetings regardless of major or knowledge level.
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space will be fundraising to help with the costs of materials for the rocket. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.