It was June 10th, 2019. A thick, foggy mist had swallowed up New York City. Hoboken traffic was, unsurprisngly, backed up half an hour. And in the back of a machine shop at Stevens Institute of Technology? Nine rocket enthusiasts were ironing out a testing procedure.
Castle Point Rocketry invited our industry advisors, Rich and Luke, in to review our final testing procedure. Somehow, there were still some introductions to be made, too!
Luke Colby is the President and CEO of Triton Space Technologies, providing engineering design services out of Boston, Massachusetts. Luke has been advising our project by phone since Fall 2018, but we have never met in person. His company also manufactured a handful of valves that will travel aboard our rocket.
Rich Kelly is a Senior Project Engineer with Valcor Engineering, based in Springfield, New Jersey. Due to Valcor’s proximity, he has visited our lab many times over the last few months. And they also manufactured several valves we will be launching into space!
After introductions, we quickly showed Rich and Luke the latest work we had done on the rocket. Then, it was down to business.
We crowded around an imaginary table in our makeshift conference room. (Spoiler: It’s our lab with a portable projector screen.) We had less than six hours to go through the entire 64-page Propulsion Testing Document, so… there was little time for games. (There was, however, time for lunch. Self-care is important and, as Rich reminded us, “The food’s not getting any warmer!”)
The team led Rich and Luke through our testing plan page by page, halting when there were questions or suggestions. After reviewing three tank tests, five full-stack tests, and ten procedural methods, we reached the end of our packet. We called it a day, but Luke and Rich left us with a few pointers. Among other things, the team is revising our waste management plan, redesigning the igniter (again!), and renting more robust pressure regulators.
It was then time to set our sights on the next big exciting task: Dry Run Testing!