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Rockets (Aeronautics); Stability of rockets


The objective was to develop a finless model rocket . The idea evolved after seeing the Army's Sprint anti-ballistic missile, which is conical in shape and does not have fins for primary aerodynamic stabilization . In designing the model rocket, a scale drawing was made, and center of gravity (CG) and center of pressure (CP) computations transferred to it. The initial design proved unstable because the CG and CP were too close together. Another drawing was made with the addition of a payload section to carry necessary weight to allow moving the CG forward. This second design was mathematically stable.

For stability testing, a string was attached to the rocket's CG and spun in a circular path. Stability was achieved when all counterclockwise torques equaled all clockwise torques (not measured). An engine was selected by weight-carrying ability. The rocket was flown using conventional techniques, and flight characteristics were collected. Movies were made for further reference, and the rocket proved stable.

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