The first project of UFABC Rocket Design started right after the beginning of the team in 2010 and had the purpose of gaining knowledge about rocket engine construction, mostly in fuel elaboration and engine structures: casings, bulkheads and nozzles. At the same time, the team developed most of the equipments needed for future launches, like engine instrumentation with load cells, ignition systems and a composites curing box.
Most of the theoretical basis of this project was taken from “Rocket Propulsion Elements” book from George P. Sutton. Our experiments, on the other hand, had the technical basis on the studies of Richard Nakka, whose practice is world reference in the area and it is used by many big academic rocket design teams. All the studies of the Liberty project culminated on the production of Boitatá I, the first rocket of UFABC Rocket Design.
The Boitatá I was the first project of a complete rocket from UFABC Rocket Design, with propulsion systems, avionics, recovery and structure fully developed by the team.
To be launched in the Centro de Estudos do Universo (Universe Studies Center), CEU, in Brotas / SP - Brazil, the Boitatá I had to comply with a series of technical requirements, such as safety distance calculation, fire fighting systems and the whole structure offered by CEU itself.
For the first time, a carbon fiber structure was made, thanks to the newly signed partnership with ALLTEC composite materials. Among the new features of the rocket, were one embedded electronic system (made with Arduino and servo motor) and a parachute of 42,65ft in diameter ejected by springs.
In addition, the fuel used in the engine of Boitatá was KNSU, replicated and tested in the Liberty project. Before the launch, which happened on 29 June 2013, a computational fluid dynamics study was done (CFD). Finally, Boitatá I was also featured in the "I Semana das Engenharias da UFABC" (First UFABC Week of Engineering), having been exposed on the team shelf.
Beginning in February 2014, Boitatá II mission was an attempt in improving its predecessor, straightening all errors identified in the post flight analysis of Boitatá I mission.
On recovery, as an example of the conducted modifications, the use of a side door for parachute deployment was substituted for an ejection of the nose cone for the same purpose. And in avionics a system with integrated gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, and accelerometer was implemented.
The structures team, in the same way, opted for removing the fin set previously placed in the middle of the rocket and also readjusted the base fins for best aerodynamic performance. Lastly, the propulsion system stayed untouched. When the time for Boitatá II launch came, a new ignition system was developed, and was used in all launches done by the team until 2015.
Unfortunately, this launch system was used once during the 1st Curitiba Amateur Rocketry Festival, in April 2014, for a static firing of our rocket engine. This happened because some our members were selected for the Science Without Borders program (a study abroad program financed by Brazilian government) and, without their presence, most of the resources of the team were redirected to other tasks.
Even though some unfortunate events happened, that was the first time UFABC Rocket Design participated in a rocketry event. Also, Boitatá II was exposed in the team's booth at the 2nd UFABC Engineering Week event.
After going to Curitiba Rocketry Festival, the team decided to build rockets that could effectively compete according to the stipulated rules. Hence, the Aimoré and Eirapuã projects were created, with the goal of developing of an A-class rocket (impulse between 1.26 and 2.50 N.s) and an E-class rocket (impulse between 20 and 40 N.s), respectively. Together, they formed the Curitiba mission.
Both rockets maintained the same propellant, KNO3 99% purity and saccharose, prepared with the help of technicians Bruno Gastaldo and Felipe Torres and professor Marina Sparvoli at university laboratories. On avionics, both rockets took a simplified version of Boitatá II's system. This time, electronics were composed by just a barometer and an Arduino Mini. As for structures, there were divergences. While Aimoré was entirely built on ABS and 3D-printed at the Dinama project of professor Segundo Nilo, Eirapuã had an all carbon fiber structure, except for the nose cone, molded in plastic filler. Aimoré ended up winning an honorable mention on innovation by its use of ABS.
Another big difference between the projects lies in their engines. Aimoré had its engine also built on ABS, with a sodium silicate thermal shielding. In turn, Eirapuã's engine casing was built on PVC and its nozzle on epoxy resin. UFABC Rocket Design's first real competition ended up going pretty well: Eirapuã won first place category, maximum apogee, and set high expectations for the next edition of the festival.
With the purpose of testing new systems, the team decided to restart the Boitatá project in August 2015. By reusing most of the completed components of Boitatá II mission, only a few minor adjustments were needed to complete the rocket. Because it was a completed project, it was the ideal choice to test new technologies and train new members that weren't involved in the project phase of a rocket this size.
This time, Boitatá project's main objective was finally reached, since Boitatá X had an apogee of 1080 meters. Launched in September 2015 at the Center of Studies of the Universe, in Brotas, São Paulo, Boitatá X was UFABC Rocket Design's first rocket to have its launch broadcast live on the internet. With a 4-kg mass, it reached 650 km/h speed, surpassing all precedent flights. This shows that the modifications for Boitatá II and the new systems of Boitatá X were, in fact, in a great success.