the FAR-MARS Prize

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the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby rick m » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:07 am

Announcement:
It gives me great pleasure to at last be able to release this. The Friends of Amateur Rocketry facility and the MARS Society is sponsoring a contest for college and university engineering students from around the world. For further information:

http://friendsofamateurrocketry.org/Launch_Contest.html

As most of you know, I've been going to the FAR site here in the Mojave Desert of California for over 10 years firing everything from Sugar Shot to Space motors and rockets to using ZnS, kerosene, paraffin, Nitrous Oxide, Nitric Acid, LOX, etc in other projects. The site is unique in all the world hosting Girl and Boy Scout launches, Team America Rocket Challenge events, NASA SLI and ESRA IREC test launches, etc, sometimes at the same time just a couple hundred feet away from commercial aerospace companies testing motors or launching vehicles.

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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby Jay » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:00 pm

What a wonderful opportunity for engineering students to get their hands dirty (and scraped and scorched and bloodied and bruised) turning theory into practice! The FAR-Mars Prize will help to turn the next generation of book smart rocket scientists into experienced practical rocket builders.

The liquid oxygen/liquid methane (or natural gas) component of the competition is particularly interesting. I recall the Firefly pressure-fed alpha engine is a LOx/LCH4 (or LNG) system. Surely the designers had their eyes on the red planet when they decided to develop an engine that would use the only two rocket propellants that can be produced readily in bulk on Mars.

Maybe the LOx/LNG half of the FAR-Mars challenge will even stir up new funding for Texas-based Firefly Space Systems, which is still struggling to survive after the withdrawal of a principal backer late last year.

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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby SANEAlex » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:24 am

Hi Rick I tweeted a link to the FAR competition page to the UKSEDs group and a UK University student who is interested in space I assume from the "a contest for college and university engineering students from around the world" that it is really an international competition and not like a lot of the NASA ones where the "international teams" have to have a US member or company representing them for ITAR reasons?
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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby rick m » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:34 am

SANEAlex wrote:...I assume from the "a contest for college and university engineering students from around the world..."


You are correct Alex. I've already had friends from other European countries discussing the Prize.
Are you also familiar with ESRA's IREC competition? It is also open to students from around the world. Besides the teams I mentor directly, I also assist foreign teams that need logistic and other help.

Today was a non launch day at the FAR site and I used it to search for my Phoenix launched last Saturday and Cal Poly university's 2016 IRC test rocket that was lost last year...I found the fin can and a hole in the ground. We dug down and recovered most of their vehicle including my 75mm sugar 'L' class motor I made for them to inexpensively fly their test rockets...it can get expensive flying with commercial AP motors and this is one way I can help support students.

http://www.soundingrocket.org/2017-irec.html

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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby SANEAlex » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:45 pm

Cheers Rick. I was not familiar with the ESRA's IREC competition so also passed that link on.
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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby rick m » Sat May 06, 2017 7:27 am

Jay wrote:Hey Rick,

Any updates for the FAR/Mars competition?

Jay


Hi Jay,

What would you like to know? FAR put in several new launch pads and working on several other things for it.

Got a launch tomorrow at FAR for myself and for one of the university teams I mentor (for this year's ESRA IREC)...if it doesn't rain/snow.
One of the other teams I've been helping with their peroxide hypergolic has canceled due to shipping delays of their HTP.

Did you hear about Vector's first launch? http://spacenews.com/vector-tests-prototype-small-launch-vehicle/

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Re: the FAR-MARS Prize

Postby Jay » Tue May 09, 2017 7:05 am

I am aware that Purdue is putting a team together. I thought you might be aware of other teams.

The Vector test was very impressive. Can't wait to see the all up demonstration. I don't think they'll be making an attempt for the N-Prize though!

Regarding hydrogen peroxide procurement, I bet Michael Carden (formerly with Beal Aerospace) could be persuaded to allow non-profit amateur groups to make non-commercial use of his patented H2O2 distillation process (US patent 6,290,820). Then they could brew their own (persumably small batches) on site from lower grade solutions for peanuts rather than dealing with the cost and hassle of suppliers and transport regulations. The lower grades are really inexpensive and require no permits for transport. Carden invented an air stripping process that works at ambient or near ambient temperature and pressure; simpler, safer and cheaper than any other method. Just a thought.

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