The Rocket-assisted Quadcopter project is a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is based on the popular ArduCopter design, and inspired by the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover Sky Crane concept to provide rocket-assisted tether lifting capabilities.
The heavy lifting is done by the solid fuel rockets, with stabilization provided by variable thrust symmetric rotor blades controlled via instant feedback from the onboard gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS subsystems. Through careful near-balancing of the rocket thrust versus the payload weight, vertical movement and hovering can be accomplished by varying just the differential thrust provided by the rotor blades. The rockets are specifically fabricated by Aerotech and offer high repeatability with a long constant thrust curve. The rockets used in the prototype are the equivalent of E6 model rocket motors and are used in a quad-cluster configuration, and will provide 7 seconds of constant thrust, enough to lift about 5 pounds several feet into the air, move laterally and then safely land under full thrust. The rockets are remotely ignited via an on-board laser ignition system during free rotor flight, with sufficient thrusters ignited to approximately counterbalance the tethered payload weight, with the necessary differential thrust and stability provided by the blades.
There is work underway on a larger version which could lift (with safe G-forces) a 200+ pound payload up 50-100 feet for 20 seconds for use in a possible rescue mission for example, such as lifting someone from the roof of a burning building or getting a ground soldier quickly out of harms way. Or just for fun. Think Iron Man Mark-1 Afganistan cave escape launch sequence. Also there will be discussion on the PureRocket Space Weather API and ISS project
Join us for food, drinks, fun and discussion! For questions, contact Jeff Dillon, firstname.lastname@example.org PureRockets.com http://developer.purerockets.com