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June 27, 2017

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NCKU successfully launches small rocket

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) research team, led by Jyh-Ching Juang from the Department of Electrical Engineering, successfully launched two small-scale hybrid sounding rockets at Shalun Farm, Tainan, the university revealed.

The NCKU team responsible for executing the National Science Council (NSC, 國科會) project titled "Development of the Earth's Upper Atmosphere Measurement Rocket, Satellite and Instrumentation System," accomplished technical breakthroughs with the rocket launch.

The team, comprising professors, technicians and students from multiple departments, is led by Juang who also revealed plans to launch a rocket weighing 1,000 kilograms over an altitude of 30 kilometers.

He also said that hybrid rockets have become a subject of development in many countries due to their low cost, high level of safety and environmental friendliness.

In these two launches, the first rocket was used to verify and validate the performance of a self-developed GPS receiver to withstand the high altitudes and speed associated with rocket flight.

"The second launch, on the other hand, was designed to verify the performance of an innovative piston-driven separation device with the aim that the separation is conducted precisely and reliably," Juang revealed.

He said the experiments were conducted in the morning of March 20. At around 11 a.m., the first rocket was launched and the capability of the GPS receiver in accommodating high acceleration (g value) was verified as the GPS satellite signals were continuously tracked.

A half hour later, the second rocket was launched in which the separation device was activated without any problems.

The technical breakthroughs will pave the way for the development of multiple-stage hybrid rocket, according to Juang, and a test launch campaign is planned this May to test a 1000-kilo rocket that is capable of reaching 30 kilometers in altitude.

NCKU has made a great deal of progress in this respect through the efforts of its Aerospace Science and Technology Research Center (ASTRC) and Department of Aeronautics and Astronauts (DAA).

The launch of two hybrid rockets this time was to verify the possibility of separation between a high dynamic global positioning system (GPS) receiver and multi-stage rockets.

The Rocket separation mechanism is integral technology for multi-stage rockets, which require extremely high reliability.

The NCKU research team uses the V-shaped hoop design with a piston-type separation triggering mechanism, which ensures an accurate and reliable separation process, thus constituting a major step in the development of multi-stage rockets in the future.

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