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University to launch rocket course for engineering

February 24, 2014

University of Canterbury (UC) will launch a rocket course for engineering students this year, the only course of its kind in New Zealand.

The course will be run by UC’s Rutherford Discovery Fellow and senior lecturer Dr Chris Hann from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

New Zealand’s first rocket course also has the backing from Rocket Lab Ltd in Auckland in the second semester which is open to all engineering students. See a UC rocket launch on YouTube.

``Our UC course will launch from the Birdlings Flat range, south east of Christchurch, and the engineering students will design and implement everything including airframe, 3D printing of canards, rocket engine design, instrumentation/sensors, control systems and parachute recovery.

``The launches and development programme will be supervised by Rocket Lab with guest lectures from New Zealand space industry representatives.

``The course will provide students with unique opportunities and training for entering the New Zealand space industry. The student rockets will be designed to be 1.5 metres long, reach speeds of 500km per hour and climb to altitudes of 800 metres.

``We will build on the UC rocketry hardware and launch protocols that have been proven successful in more than 15 flights, including orientation accuracy within 0.1 degrees of the desired direction.

``Students will design and implement a guidance manoeuvre on the rocket and they will gain experience in using a commercial orbital trajectory software tool. They will simulate the impact of various atmospheric disturbances from UC’s BlueFern supercomputer wind simulation data, slosh dynamics and bending moments.

``We hope the course will form the foundation for ongoing collaboration between UC and the Rocket Lab to further develop cutting edge space technology in New Zealand.

``Rocket Lab will supervise all the launches and will be in weekly contact with the students,’’ Dr Hann says.

Dr Chris Hann


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