One of the payloads chosen for this year's competition is to perform aerodynamic analysis on structural protuberances. The structural protuberance was chosen to be a grid fin control surfae. Grid fins are a type of control surface that has just gained interest in the last few years, with the likes of private companies such as SpaceX using them to control and recover parts of launch vehicles after launch. Because of this very recent interest, minimal public data is avaiable on how these control surfaces react in flight.
Four grid fins will be mounted to the side of the airframe. They will remain flush to the body of the vehicle, but will act as air brakes by deploying under certain scenarios prior to reaching apogee.
This system will give the team valuable data regarding the grid fins being used as control surfaces. This will aid in future endeavors by which the team will push to increase the overall capabilities of the grid fin system in hopes to use them in future competitions as a means for autonomous delivery and recovery of the rocket during different phases of flight.
Last Updated: 13 April 2017