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The Karman Space Programme's flagship rocket will utilise a custom-designed regenerative liquid bipropellant engine for propulsion. This type of engine offers high performance and reusability by routing the propellants through the chamber and nozzle walls before injection and combustion. The engine will burn a combination of ethanol and liquid oxygen propellants, which provide a good balance of high specific impulse and storability at ambient temperatures. The dual propellant tanks and pressurisation system will feed the propellants into the engine at high pressure. Thrust will be controlled by varying the flow of propellants with an electronic throttle valve system. The engine design incorporates 3D printed components for rapid prototyping and optimisation. Extensive ground testing validates the engine's performance and stability. The regenerative cooling, electronic throttle control, and customised injector represent cutting-edge liquid rocket engine technologies developed by the Karman Space Programme team.

The Aurora rocket has an innovative semi-monocoque airframe design to achieve the strength and lightweight properties required for space launch. The body tube comprises multiple modular sections joined by structural bulkheads and couplers. The skin itself is not load-bearing, with stringers, rings, and an internal exoskeleton structure carrying flight loads. This maximises strength while allowing easy manufacture and maintenance of the airframe. Sandwich composites and metal alloys were selected for the various components based on rigorous mechanical property analysis. Vibration damping, buckling resistance, stiffness, and impact tolerance drove material selection. The airframe can withstand the intense dynamic loads experienced during powered flight to 100km altitude. Rapid prototyping and ground structural testing validate and refine the multi-section semi-monocoque design. The end result is an optimised airframe that achieves mission success while minimising weight.

The Aurora rocket will experience high speeds and heating loads during ascent, requiring careful aerothermal analysis and design. At max velocity, the flow regime is expected to be hypersonic with Mach numbers exceeding 5. Shockwave interactions, surface heating, and boundary layer effects become critical considerations in this flight regime. The nosecone shape and tip design are optimised for low drag and thermal performance based on computational fluid dynamics simulations. Aerodynamic heating is addressed through the use of high-temperature composite materials on the nosecone and lightweight ablative coatings on exposed leading edges. Wind tunnel testing validates the rocket's overall aerodynamic stability and refines predictions of aeroheating and skin friction drag. The extensive aerothermal analysis and design efforts ensure the rocket can safely traverse the hypersonic ascent environment and successfully reach the Karman Line.

A key objective of the Karman Space Programme is to demonstrate reusable rocket technology. The rocket is designed for rapid turnaround between launches, with a goal of multiple flights per day. Structural integrity is maintained through the selection of robust materials like composites and alloys. The regeneratively cooled engine avoids fatigue inducing thermal cycles. Modular subsystems allow rapid inspections and replacement of components. Landing loads are minimised through a parachute recovery system, and impact attenuating materials protect key elements. Extensive post-flight inspections will identify any wear or damage. The vehicle architecture is optimised for manufacturing using 3D printing and other rapid processes. By reusing the rocket airframe and engines, launch costs can be amortised over multiple missions.

The avionics system on the Karman Space Programme's rocket will be responsible for guidance, navigation, control, and data acquisition during the flight. It utilises multiple redundant microcontrollers for increased reliability, with custom software built on a real-time operating system. An array of sensors including IMUs, GPS, barometers, and thermocouples will provide critical flight data. This data will be processed in real-time to regulate the engine throttle valves and execute the staged recovery sequence. Telemetry modules will transmit sensor data and video streams back to the ground station for monitoring and post-flight analysis. The robust avionics system architecture and fault tolerance capabilities are critical for mission success. Extensive prototyping and testing in representative flight conditions validate the system's ability to operate autonomously in the harsh rocket flight environment and achieve the precise timing of events required during launch and recovery.













Introducing Karman Space Programme's flagship rocket.

Blast off to the edge of space with Aurora, the world's most advanced student-built reusable rocket. Engineered by the leading minds of the Karman Space Programme, Aurora represents the future of student engineering.

Powered by a state-of-the-art reusable liquid bi-propellant engine, Aurora combines the latest in propulsion technology with an innovative semi-monocoque airframe. Advanced composites and alloys allow Aurora to ascend over 100 km into the heavens. Its pioneering recovery systems enable the rocket to have a graceful landing, ready to fly again within hours.

Experience breathtaking views of Earth from the blackness of space. Conduct groundbreaking research in the microgravity environment. Aurora opens up limitless possibilities. Don't just witness history - ride it. Aurora turns the dream of spaceflight into an exhilarating reality. Space is waiting. It's time to reach for the stars with Aurora.

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