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Aerospace Rocket Airframe

  1. Nov 27, 2008 #1
    I'm a sophomore Aerospace major, and I'm also a new member to a rocket student group at my university. We are currently involved in a competition with NASA, and they have asked our group to write a Preliminary Design Review. Everything was split up, and I was left with the rocket's airframe design. I unfortunately have never taken a single Aerospace class and I have no idea where to start. I'm also leaving town tomorrow morning and will have no access to internet until Monday (the paper is to be done by Tuesday). So I was wondering if anyone had any good reads on Rocket Airframe, where I could save onto my laptop and read it while I'm out of town. We're using carbon fiber for the airframe, so if anyone has any reads on why it would be beneficial to use carbon fiber, please let me know. Again, I'm not too familiar with any of this, but I'm really interested in learning, so any help is HIGHLY appreciated. Thank you all in advance for your help!

    - Ali
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2008 #2


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    I can't really speak to shape, which I think depends upon the purpose of the rocket. Carbon fibre has the advantage of extreme strength and flexibility combined with low weight. Weight means an awful lot to anything that flies.
  4. Nov 28, 2008 #3
    I believe one of the goals is that the rocket is to exceed no more than 1 mile in altitude. It's a NASA competition, so there are a lot of restrictions. As far as my project lead said, all I have to do is write about the airframe, give some basic info, let them know what type of material we are using, talk about any advantages & disadvantages, and also a little about the risks involved. I personally have no idea about all this stuff, and they sprung this on me three hours ago, so I've had no time to plan for it as I'm on my way to leave tomorrow morning.
  5. Nov 28, 2008 #4


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    Well, I think that with you being an Aerospace major and me being a high-school dropout, you probably should be able to handle this without my assistance. I mean, really... there's no way in the world that you could know less about this stuff than I do.
  6. Dec 11, 2010 #5
    Having worked on the delta iv rocket structure.
    It is monolithic rings with which the sheeting is attached to.
    It was extremely strong and light and required a lot of machining.

    For the size of your rocket a 2024 tubular frame bolted together or
    a 6061 tubular frame welded together by an extremely good welder
    would give you an extremely strong and light frame.

    Tubing dimensions would be defined by the amount of the G force the vehicle
    is expected to see.

    To give the vehicle more longitudinal bending strength the sheeting should
    be bolted to the structure,preferably carbon fiber sheeting.

    This is the same design we are currently using on our prototype
    nanosat launch vehicle.

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