Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Delft trip part 3.... DARE Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering.

So. I am very much of the opinion "If you don't ask you don't get" and on the last day of my trip to Delft (part 1 blog here and part 2 blog here) I decided to walk back to the TUDelft campus and do some maths work for an hour in the amazing library and then see if I could find the DARE rocket facility and take a picture of the door or something! When I got to DARE however I could see that although it was a Sunday afternoon a few team members were in working in the facility. So... I rang the doorbell!

I explained to the friendly face of Bastiaan (Chief of Structures on Stratos III) that I had been over to attend and do a talk at the pocketqube workshop and that I was a rocket builder and a member of the  UK Rocketry Association UKRA and cheekily asked if I might peek in their facility and take a photo or 2. Rather brilliantly Bastiaan said yes.. and took a half hour out of his day to blow the mind of a rocketry guy from North Wales!

So above is a picture of Stratos II (so big it lives in a 3 storey stairwell!) which until very recently held the European altitude record for a none commercial rocket reaching 21.5 km in October 2015.

Stratos II from the second floor level!

Stratos II on the top floor! Actual flight payload section that held the record.

In the smaller Lab facility we looked at first. Part of the Aether airframe (Aether is a supersonic technology demonstrator project for DARE).

So many rocket parts everywhere I didn't know where to look! Lovely fin assemblies.

In the foyer of the laboratory this phalanx of rockets.. most destined for CANSAT duties but the one closest part of an active rocket stabilisation exploration project.

Nice 3d printed canard fins.

The cansat payload bays, each shelf takes 2 cansats, the deployer mechanism for the cansats is all mechanical rather than using an explosive charge, this means that the school teams who have built the cansats can be safely part of the integration process as well.

We then went to visit the machine shop..... My goodness... what a well specified space! Nice to see they had some similar EMCO's as the ones I trained on a while back. There was also paint rooms, welding bays, and composite rooms etc. Stunning.

Even in the machine shop there were rockets everywhere!

This was a rocket engine test stand, around 2metres in length.

Some of the stock ready to be turned into oxidiser tanks.

Massive, beautifully turned graphite nozzles and also mixer pieces.  These are around 25cm diameter for scale.

I need a lathe about this size in my life.

So.. there we go. I am still grinning about this visit! My final thoughts for this post are how can we get rocketry to this sort of level in the UK? I'd give a lot to see this. Thank you for letting me visit DARE you do amazing work, best wishes for success in all your varied projects.

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