POLARIS : ad astra — sky’s the limit !

«Make your life a dream, and your dream a real­i­ty». These words of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Vin­cent Mar­tin has adopt­ed the adage. This 5th year com­put­er engi­neer­ing stu­dent has always been fas­ci­nat­ed by space and has embarked on a crazy project: design­ing and fly­ing a rock­et pro­pelled by a hybrid engine! Inter­ac­tions met this future engi­neer who has his head in the stars but his feet firm­ly plant­ed on the ground. 

How did you come up with the idea of designing a rocket with a hybrid engine? 

“I have always been pas­sion­ate about space, so dur­ing the spring of 2019, I wrote a review on the fea­si­bil­i­ty of stu­dents design­ing a hybrid rock­et engine. This type of engine is sim­pler and much less dan­ger­ous to han­dle than a con­ven­tion­al engine, but it is still very inter­est­ing to study for engi­neer­ing stu­dents. I con­clud­ed in my work that it was quite pos­si­ble to embark on such a project at the UTC. In autumn 2019, I left for an intern­ship, but when I came back to UTC, in Feb­ru­ary 2020, we launched the project “UTC Rock­et Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­to­ry” with Patrice Simard. The objec­tive was to design and launch to between 20 and 30km alti­tude a rock­et pro­pelled by a hybrid engi­ne­of 10 kN of thrust, engine also designed by UTC students. 

How does your project look today?

Today we are about fif­teen stu­dents, from dif­fer­ent UTC spe­cial­i­ties (com­put­er engi­neer­ing, mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing, process engi­neer­ing, com­mon core…), divid­ed into var­i­ous teams to enable us to work more effi­cient­ly. There is the mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing and design team, the launch and land­ing team, the avion­ics and sys­tems team, the mul­ti­physics flu­id sim­u­la­tion team, etc. This semes­ter we are real­ly start­ing to get down to busi­ness: for exam­ple, we have suc­cess­ful­ly car­ried out a first para­chute test, launch­ing a two kilo­gram­mass from the third floor of a build­ing. The next para­chute test is planned for the near future, and this time a slight­ly heav­ier mass will be thrown from the top of Ben­jamin Franklin. The IT team has had a PCB (print­ed cir­cuit board) print­ed and deliv­ered for the on-board com­put­er, and they have also ordered an anten­na. There are still a lot of prob­lems to be solved and a lot of work to be done, but the project is gen­er­at­ing a lot of enthu­si­asm from the stu­dents involved.

The project schedule

  • Spring of 2021 : design­ing and assem­bling the 1 kN pro­to­type ‑sta­t­ic test firing
  • Autumn of 2021 : design­ing and assem­bling the 5kN, opti­miza­tion the engine design, first launch 
  • Spring of 2022 : design­ing and assem­bling the Polar­isver­sion (10kN), build­ing the engine and launch con­fig. assem­bly sta­t­ic test firing 
  • Autumn of 2022 : Polaris launch,to attain 20 km alltitude

Le magazine

Novembre 2023 - N°61

Activité physique, nutrition & santé

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