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We're building a full size rocket motor for our Hermes Spacecraft.  Help us Kickstart the next generation of space travel!
We're building a full size rocket motor for our Hermes Spacecraft. Help us Kickstart the next generation of space travel!
321 backers pledged $20,843 to help bring this project to life.

Our Plan of Attack

Our Workday 

After our core team gets done working at our respective day jobs, we regularly meet two days a week: Wednesday evenings and Sunday.  Wednesday evenings are usually from 6-9pm, and Sundays are all day.  Now that summer is coming, and Phoenix is warming up, we try to start earlier and earlier to beat the heat. 

We usually meet at the shop, but occasionally will go to other people’s houses to work on presentations, or sometimes coffee shops (and bars) to hash our designs and ideas.   In addition to our physical meetings, each of us is working on our respective areas when we have time on nights and throughout the weekend, whether it’s designing, analysis, research, updating our media, or coordinating with our volunteer network.

Like any task driven project, extra time gets put in when deadlines approach.  Before NIWeek 2011, we met almost daily to get the Hermes prepared for it’s journey to Austin.  Before and right after Kickstarter launched, we did the same to ensure we had everything ready.  (Of course, we did not!  Anyone who’s created a project on Kickstarter will understand).

The next few weeks..

So as our Kickstarter project comes to a close, I wanted to give you a look into what we’ll be doing for the next several weeks, once we’ve received our funding:

1.  Take care of our backers.  Of course, we’ll be working to fulfill all of our pledge awards.  We’ll be able to get certain items very quickly (like the stickers and T-Shirts).  The higher tier items will take more time since we’re handcrafting these items, but we’ll keep everyone updated along the way (all items will be fulfilled by their estimated delivery date).

2.  Make Progress on our Design Review.  We’ve been working with some groups to get our 3D scan into a useable model, and it’s almost ready to go.  Once that’s done, we’ll be using it for some aerodynamic and thermal analysis to verify the Hermes design will work for our mission profiles.  It also lets us begin the integration process.  We’ll be using a 3D integration to begin putting in all of the subsystems, components, and all internal workings to make sure our sizing is close.  Of course, not all components and parts have been selected or developed yet!  But this lets us move in the right direction. 

3.  Run through more small motor tests.  We’ve been testing out several fuel and thermal protectant combinations.  We have another half dozen runs to go through with our 2” engines before we feel we established enough of a baseline to go back up to a 3” run.  We would then run a few 3” motor tests, using our newly developed rocket monitoring and test system to work out any kinks before scaling up to our large test.  And of course:

4.  Design our 10” Rocket Motor.  We will review our milestone chart for the design, assembly and test of our full scale motor core test.  We’ll design and CAD out all of the parts, start work on the automation of our rocket monitoring and test system, find quotes for the remaining sensors and DAQ components that we need, and begin the process of integrating it all together.

I’m sure there are several of you that are very interested to here more on how we’ll be tackling these issues.  If you’ve pledged $25 or more, we’ll be sending out some detailed information on our game plan soon after our Kickstarter campaign ends.  Some of the information we’ll send you we’re not going to share with the general public at all.  You’re going to get the first crack at it, and provide us your input and feedback if you want to.  That’s just some of what exclusive access means to us.

Thanks everyone!


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    1. STAR Systems Creator on April 27, 2012

      Lars: I'm thinking positive here that we will reach our funding goal, but that's a good question. We have all of the materials to fire off our several 2" rocket motors. We would need to buy some more graphite and a create a few more end caps. We haven't done enough firings to get a true operating cost, but it's ~$30 in consumables and about 4 hours of time.

      We would then scale back up to our 3" motor and perform a few burns on it. We would have to machine new injector heads, and we can put together a VERY limited monitoring system with the spare parts we have. Many more hours of work and around a few hundred dollar to fire it off once.

      We can also get our CAD work done, and our supporters are still helping with our 3D model.

      At that point though, our hands are tied until we either come up with more funding or we personally throw in larger amounts of money. A couple of our components will cost a few grand. Some of the assembly (certified aerospace-rated welding, some of the large scale precision part machining) is going to be pricey.

      In the past, when we reach these roadblocks, we try to tap our existing network (Pit Crew, old supporters & sponsors). Sometimes we can work out a deal for services or parts. This takes a lot of coordination, time and energy, and a little bit of luck. It wreaks havoc on the schedule too. This is one of the biggest enemies of a volunteer effort, schedule slip.

    2. Lars Ivar | AoUA on April 27, 2012

      Just curious, as it looks like the funding may complete successfully; what are you planning in case you won't reach $20k?