The purpose of this project is to build a rocket and rover for NASA’s Student Launch Competition. This competition resembles a NASA mission where a rocket flies to another planet. After landing, the rocket deploys a rover to collect a soil sample for testing.
The project goal is to design and launch a rocket equipped with a rover for the competition. The rocket must safely carry the rover to a height of 4900 feet. A smaller parachute deploys to control the landing of the rocket and a larger parachute deploys later to slow the rocket down before landing. The rocket takes 90 seconds to descend and lands within 2500 feet of the launch pad. When the rocket lands, the team sends a signal to release the rover. This is the only part of the competition when the team actively controls any of the vehicles.
After the rover exits the rocket, it moves 10 feet away without any user commands. Finally, the rover collects and seals a 3 ounce soil sample. The team uses devices that can read the height of the rocket and determine when to release parachutes. The rover uses a simple method to collect soil: the container drags behind the rover to scoop the soil. A few parts of the rocket and rover are 3-D printed to cut down on costs. The team also kept the rocket motor and frame from last year’s project to save money.