Contrail Rockets

Press Release – December 1, 2017

When You Have the Need for Speed

Let me preface this press release with some background information.  First on May 6th, 2016 I became sole owner of Contrail Rockets, buying out my former partner and son Thomas.  I have relocated just a few miles from its original location with no interruption of orders.  Understanding how a hybrid motors operate and how Contrail Rockets gets its high initial impulse off the ground are all part of the design of the motor which I started with back in 2002 before there was a Contrail Rockets.  Working with hybrid motors for many years, I am confident that the injector design is an area which my motors could be improved.  In improving my injector design, I have had several ideas and even several prototypes which I had manufactured but to date none have given me the results I am looking for.

Contrail Rockets has been working with a number of university students for years custom manufacturing parts for projects related to Hybrid Rockets.  Over the past year I have had the opportunity to work with NASA and Yale and even some high school programs. I feel Educators are an important key to a great rocket programs.  Over the past year I have been working with a student from the University of Tennessee.  One of his goals is a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Please let me introduce:

Robert Nickel

Aerospace Engineering

The University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Robert and “The Student Space Technology Association” from the University of Tennessee have brought forward an idea to me which in SolidWorks showed potential.  Upon manufacture it was static tested at 900 PSI.  It revealed that the fluid dynamics were what SolidWorks projected but this was not what was needed for Robert to reach his goal.  Upon addition collaboration, the device was modified which improved the results but still did not give Robert and “The Student Space Technology Association” the desired performance.  The prototype was again modified, and static tested which resulted in improved flow stability.  Robert and I agreed the device exceeded the original criteria.  With this newly designed part, Robert and “The Student Space Technology Association” could continue their educational program. I am sure they were excited on how quickly Contrail Rockets took an idea from concept to prototype development through static testing through modifications and retesting to the final operational part.  The manufactured parts have been shipped out to them.  They are ready to move from simulations to testing and they have a part that exceeds the projections of SolidWorks.  I wish Robert and “The Student Space Technology Association” the best as they begin static testing and data collection at the University of Tennessee.

For me, I saw a great idea that could become an excellent idea and modified the device again.  Seeing an improved performance, I believed I could do even better knowing what the end results were expected to be were in direct alignment with the previous prototypes I had been working on a year before.  Robert and his team just turned things upside down so to speak.  What I found in the parts that I manufactured for Robert was that I could not mass produce them for all Contrail Rocket motors, I needed to find a way to get improved flow dynamics without the inconsistency in machining or a high individual item cost.  I redesigned the prototype eliminating its deficiencies and improving the fluid dynamics required to eliminate any flow instability.  Ultimately, Contrail Rockets designed a device that is being mass manufactured in all speed ranges.

I am proud to announce the collaborative design of the newest hybrid motor part to be used in a Contrail Rocket motor.  Importantly, had it not been for Robert Nickel, “The Student Space Technology Association”, and the University of Tennessee, I may never have pushed the boundary of fluid dynamics in injector design.  This was one of my back-burner projects I would not had worked with such intensity except for the constant communication with Robert.  He did not realize how making a G-100 more efficient could change the entire hobby hybrid industry.  Robert and I are proud of the collaborative device to be known as the;

Contrail Nickel Vortex Adapter










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