Feb 2, 2016 | By Kira

A Taiwan-designed, developed, and constructed rocket featuring a 3D printed shell and environmentally friendly materials and fuel sources successfully launched and landed in Hsinchu City last Sunday, January 31st. The APPL-9C’s launch, conducted by the Advanced Rocket Research Center based in National Chiao Tung University (who also produced the rocket), was part of a test run for the larger, multistage HTTP-3 hybrid rocket, which is scheduled to launch later this year.

The two-stage APPL-9C rocket (named after the Aerothermal & Plasma Physics Lab that built it), was designed specifically as a low-cost verification test platform for larger ARRC rockets. It measures 2.7 meters in length, 15 centimeters in diameter, and weighs 27 kilograms when fully fueled. Each sub-system is made of a highly flexible modular structure, and its shell was 3D printed from a mixture of PLA and eco-friendly fibreglass-based materials.

Additionally, the first section of the rocket uses a sugar-based rocket fuel (made from sorbitol + KNO3), and its second section features a hybrid rocket motor (fueled by Hydroxyl Terminated Polybutadiene HTPB, with nitrous oxide as the oxidant), furthering its claim of being an environmentally-friendly projectile.

As part of the test, the APPL-9C rocket reached an altitude of 1 kilometer before deploying three chutes and splashing down in a Hsinchu wetland. The test included monitoring of the GPS receiver’s stability at high acceleration (>15g), the 434MHz uplink/downlink communications system, WiFi downlink communications systems, the parachute recovery system, ignition system, and more. Its payload included several cameras, including a 360-degree RICOH camera, the YoCam waterproof camera, and two other smaller models.

“The success of APPL-9C shows that our indigenous separation and ignition systems are ready for application on a larger scale. It also offers hope that HTTP-3 can reach an altitude of 100 kilometers and conduct experiments,” said Wu Jong-shinn, the ARRC project co-leader and an NCTU mechanical engineering professor.

Wu added that rocket development requires cross-sector collaboration spanning such areas as electrical engineering, information communications technology, and structural materials. The successful test launch of the APPL-9C 3D printed rocket, as well as the upcoming launch of the larger HTTP-3, thus signals Taiwan’s commitment to advancing its space technology capabilities, and playing an important role in the global space technology industry.

Taiwan has also been stepping up its game in terms of industrial, military, and aerospace 3D printing technology, have unveiled its first locally-developed metal 3D printer last year. “We believe ARRC can set an example and build Taiwan into a pacesetter when it comes to advanced technology,” said Wu.

The ARRC was founded in 2012 by Professor Wu Zongxin of Chiao Tung University, and now includes around 40 faculty members and graduate students at six local tertiary institutions.  The ARRC is financed entirely without government support, raising money solely through research grants, private donations and crowdfunding—Wu Zongxin said that they hope to raise 16 million Taiwan dollars this year (roughly US$500,000), however so far they have raise only 9 million. Full funding will ensure the smooth and successful production and test launches of future ARRC-developed rockets.

Thanks to the 3D printed APPL-9C rocket’s camera-heavy payload, as well as its relatively low flying height and the clear, cloudless weather on the day of the test, the ARRC team was able to capture some great videos of the rocket’s test launch, which you can view below, plus an additional video showing how the rocket was 3D printed:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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bruno Inácio wrote at 6/15/2016 4:04:22 PM:

eu queria usar um desses foguetes para lançar um satélite, eles alcançam a altitude correte? (bruno.bruno.n@hotmail.com)

yzorg wrote at 2/3/2016 9:23:36 AM:

a eco-friendly rocket :) lol

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