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Overview

We are Endeavour, the University of Edinburgh's rocketry team, and we are delighted to be a recipient of the RS Grassroots student project fund.

We run four different technical projects called Darwin, Maxwell, Bayes and Rankine - all with unique projects for our nearly 80 students to work on. Endeavour is a passion project for all of our members, with the University not having an aerospace department, our members are genuinely interested and invested in the work they do.

Darwin - designs and builds flight vehicles that have previously competed in domestic UK competitions as well as an international competition in Europe ranging in apogees of 3km-9km.
Maxwell - developing a compact liquid rocket engine to one day replace the solid motors we use in the Darwin team.
Bayes - focuses on thrust vector control in the form of a hopper vehicle using an electrical thruster.
Rankine - new team this year, developing more conventional aeronautics through RC plane design. 

Objectives

The long-term goal of Endeavour is to combine the projects of Darwin, Maxwell and Bayes into one flight vehicle which is able to land in a similar fashion to that of SpaceX vehicles.

Darwin's ADA II launch vehicle

Regarding shorter-term goals, we will be aiming to return to a competition in Portugal called the European Rocketry Challenge (EuRoC) this year with the Darwin team, and compete in the 3km category without ADA II vehicle. Our Maxwell team will also be returning to Race-to-Space in Buckinghamshire, with the goal of performing the team's first 'hot-fire' test. Finally, Bayes and Rankine will be continuing with the development of their vehicles, aiming to have prototypes by the end of the year.

Rankine team's first project in CAD

Methodology

Our projects are largely dictated by the academic year. Generally, we aim to complete CAD design by the close of semester one with a focus on manufacturing and testing in semester two to prepare for competitions during the summer or beginning of the following semester.

In order to make sure our projects are technically and logically sound, we encourage communication throughout the team. Ultimately, Endeavour is a space for students to learn and apply their knowledge, so it is expected there will be mistakes and inefficiencies - that is why communication is so important. This ensures that gaps in knowledge can be filled by reaching out across the team. Additionally, we also have a group of academic advisors we liaise with to ensure we are moving in sensible directions!

During the CAD phase in semester one, most of our teams use AutoDesk Inventor or SOLIDWORKS as their CAD of choice, with the variation in software only present between technical teams to ensure continuity. For electrically inclined teams, we also make use of Altium Design for PCBs as well as LTSpice amongst some others. We are very pleased with the progress made in semester one, with all technical teams having CAD ready.

During our manufacturing and testing phase we make use of several technologies and methods. Firstly, we are very fortunate in being able to use the university's technicians and workshop for the creation of complex metal parts. Through this, we have access to CNC machines, milling machines and conventional lathes. We also have access to a shared MakerSpace with common tools and plenty of bench space with vice. We also make significant use of university and member-owned 3D printers - allowing for quick prototyping and assembly fit checks.

In the past, we have created our own composites such as fiberglass, most often for integrating fins into the rocket body or for creating a protective cover for our payloads.

For more complex testing, such as what the Maxwell team aims to complete for their engine using a spectrometer, we try and source specialist equipment from the university. 

Products

Using the Grass Roots Student Fund we will aim to purchase a range of components including mechanical & electrical as well as potentially some tools. For tools, one thing we never seem to have enough of is screwdrivers with changeable tool heads! Regarding components, we will purchase fasteners and fixings for mechanical applications and microcontrollers, chips and cables for electrical applications such as our avionics for our rocket.    

Next Steps

As mentioned previously, our immediate next steps will be focusing on EuRoC and Race-to-Space, and the preparation associated with these such as design reviews and technical documents to support our projects.

As we race through the second semester, we will inevitably face some challenges and changes. This will largely be due to an approaching AGM to elect members for next year's positions. Moreover, we were set on attending Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico during the summer, but despite a successful application we unfortunately had to pull out due to funding uncertainty.

Ultimately, we do not only measure success at Endeavour through successful launches, recoveries, awards and gaining entry to sought-after competitions. Endeavour is considered successful if members are able to make mistakes, learn, gain connections and apply their knowledge. If these points are true, then the society is a success. RS Grass Roots funding is contributing towards that by enriching the student experience, allowing our members access to more/better tools and the ability to tinker and test with RS's large range of components - so thank you!

Get in Touch

If you would like to hear more about our society you can find us on instagram @endeavourockets or email us at team@endeavourockets.com. 

This is the Lead account for the University of Edinburgh's student rocketry team! Check out what we do on Instagram @endeavourockets.