September 27, 2018
This week we were thrilled to have Luke Saindon join the bluShift team. Arriving this week seemed especially appropriate, as Luke’s college thesis from the University of Maine was on the development of an oxidizer flow control system for hybrid rockets. In addition to his Mechanical Engineering education, he also works for an aerospace company here in the northeast, has prior intern experience at NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center and in leading a regional student team developing sounding rockets.
Both this past weekend and earlier this week we achieved further pressure test successes. We put the entire oxidizer system along with the injection bulkhead to a high pressure test using water. Once again we achieved success with no leaks. Since we have to partially disassemble the system after the tests, there continues to be a pleasant sense of surprise that the system holds tight after each re-assembly.
In addition to holding pressure well above planned nominal run conditions, we also began examining the spray pattern of the injection bulkhead by opening up the main flow valve and filming. Initial findings look promising. Further tests will be performed with a relatively safe self-pressurizing gas similar to our oxidizer for improved simulation of the injection nozzles’ performance and pressure testing.
In parallel, Ward Holloway is working on a custom designed Venturi flow meter for the oxidizer system. We have reason to believe that the current flow meter will not perform continuously to the levels of rigor we have in store for it. So we are working on this custom flow meter as a more robust backup. Plans are to begin machining the meter within a few weeks.