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Rocket-Launched Reconnaissance UAV. Senior Design Project 2008-2009. Team Summary. Aerospace Club: Senior Design Project 2008-2009 William Runge Senior, Mechanical Engineering President, Chief Engineer, Webmaster Kyser Miree Senior, Mechanical Engineering

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Rocket-Launched Reconnaissance UAV

Senior Design Project 2008-2009

team summary
Team Summary

Aerospace Club: Senior Design Project 2008-2009

William Runge

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

President, Chief Engineer, Webmaster

Kyser Miree

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Vice-President, UAV Fuselage Design, Technical Writer

Tyler Lamb

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

UAV Wing Design, Fiberglass Fabrication

Thomas Bowden

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Rocket Design, Carbon Fiber Fabrication

Thomas Carroll

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

UAV Imagery Systems, Outreach

Ben Havrilesko

Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Rocket Electronics, Fabrication

Matt Heller

Senior, Computer Engineering

Airborne and Ground Electronics

project summary rocket launched reconnaissance uav
Project SummaryRocket-Launched Reconnaissance UAV

A 10”-diameter, 16’-tall rocket carries a reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to altitude. Once at altitude, the UAV is deployed by a pyrotechnic charge. The wing, the propeller, and the tail rotate or fold and lock into position, and the aircraft is thenceforth piloted by two operators – a Pilot and a Payload Specialist – from a pair of computer terminals.

The UAV reconnaissance package:

  • High-resolution digital camera on a tilt-pan gimbal
  • An Infrared Thermometer, which provides a digital temperature readout of whatever object the camera is pointed towards.

The UAV sensory array, which provides information to the pilot, consists of:

  • A forward facing camera
  • A barometric altimeter
  • An airspeed indicator
  • A GPS receiver
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis angle roll rate sensor
  • A 500 mhz flight computer which encapsulates the information and transmits it to the groundstation via a wifi uplink
plan of attack
Plan of Attack
  • Build and ground-test the rocket, which is the least complicated subsystem
  • Build and flight test a Proof of Concept UAV to hone design/fabrication skills.
  • Design the electronics system, and flight test it onboard an off-the-shelf R/C airplane
  • Build and flight test the Competition UAV, without the electronics payload
  • Deploy the Competition UAV without the electronics suite from the rocket during a test launch, to be landed visually
  • Install the electronics suite into the Competition UAV; flight test the two as a pair.
  • On Competition Day (4/18/09), launch the rocket with the UAV and it’s electronics suite onboard to be flown remotely.
rocket design progress units in inches
Rocket Design Progress(Units in Inches)
  • Rocket Design is essentially Complete
  • Rocket Assembly is underway
  • Rocket Deployment Testing is complete
deployment testing
Deployment Testing
  • Experimentally verifies that the pyrotechnic charges are sufficient to separate the rocket
  • Provides the team with much-needed explosive handling and packaging experience
unmanned aerial vehicle proof of concept design units in inches
Unmanned Aerial VehicleProof of Concept: Design (Units in Inches)
  • Demonstrates the design and fabrication skills of the team
  • Provides experience and practice with composite fabrication methods
  • Provides insight to potential areas of improvement for future iterations
unmanned aerial vehicle proof of concept flight testing
Unmanned Aerial VehicleProof of Concept: Flight Testing
  • Flight Testing takes place at Peeler-Park, a R/C only airport in north Nashville
  • Initial flight tests are conducted by an experienced R/C pilot named Randy Moore.
  • Flight testing of the Proof of Concept UAV was a success
poc 1 flight test video
POC#1 Flight Test Video

UAV Electronics Payload Status

Design: Complete

Assembly: Underway

Ground Testing: Underway (subsystems only)

Flight Testing: Mid-February: off-the-shelf R/C Airplane

Reconnaissance Package Schematic

competition uav status units in inches
Competition UAV Status(Units in Inches)


Design: Complete

Fabrication: Underway

Flight Testing: To begin Feb. 15th


Rotating Wing (48” x 8”)

Folding Propeller

Folding V-Tail

85 mph cruise

Retractable landing gear

4-cell, 5000 mAh Lipo

6.5 lb weight w/ electronics