Helitrans assists rocket testing

Helitrans assists rocket testing

The aerospace industry would hardly exist if it weren’t for innovative souls with a great sense of physics. It has therefore been Helitrans’s great pleasure to support the student organization Propulse at NTNU. Over the past year, they have designed and developed their own rocket to participate in the world’s largest rocket competition for students. This is happening in New Mexico, USA in June, and here they will meet students from all over the world. About 40 of the group’s 60 members plan to go to participate in the competition in the United States.

Test and production manager for NTNU Propulse, Hege Grytten, says that this year they have had a project with research on the payload of the rocket, where they measure the vibrations during flight with sensors, and have researched how these can be counteracted.

When the rocket falls back to Earth again, the rocket must be slowed down, and finally land safely after the flight using not one, but two parachutes that deploy at different altitudes.

Rocket launches are carefully regulated in Norway, so it is not so easy to test what has been developed. That’s why they’re collaborating with Helitrans on these tests.

“When you can’t launch the rocket, it’s nice to get help from a helicopter to lift the rocket so that you can test the separation and the mechanisms that trigger the parachutes by dropping it from a great height, before you go abroad to compete,” says Grytten.

The test was conducted at Frigården, a large marshland outside Stjørdal, on Thursday afternoon with about 20 excited students who attended and ensured that no one entered the area during the test.

Pilot Christian Husby from Helitrans lifted the rocket by helicopter to about 450 meters above the ground. The test rocket was then dropped and fell freely, until the parachutes deployed.

“This test gives us the most realistic setting for how the rocket will behave during a real launch,” says Grytten.

It hasn’t always gone so well in these tests, so the excitement of seeing the results from one year’s work was great.

“The rocket test was a success, but we found some mechanisms that need adjustment, so this was nice. Better to discover this now so we can correct it before the competition, than to discover the mistakes in New Mexico.”

Helitrans wishes the rocket gang the best of luck in New Mexico!

Photos from the 2021 competition