Hovering Rockets

A talk from EMF 2022 by James Macfarlane

On Friday June 3, 2022 at in Stage A

The speaker works for a small company in the UK who have developed a VTVL (Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing) rocket, also known as a hopper or lander. This started as a student / hobby project and is now receiving funding from the European Space Agency (ESA.) There are lots of interesting technical problems involved in making a VTVL rocket work. You need to steer the rocket engine and control its thrust based on data from a variety of sensors. This involves mechanical, electronics and coding challenges. When fully developed, the test vehicle we've developed will be used to test software and hardware that enable robots to land safely on other planets such as Mars.

The talk will start with an introduction to rocket engines and a simple explanation of the vehicle's dynamics then cover the development of our VTVL rocket from hobby project to successful flying test-bed. It will include video footage of recent test flights where the rocket takes off and hovers on a tethered test rig.