Mechanical Engineering + Art + Apparel Design

PSAS ERS Senior Capstone Project


PSAS Electromechanical Recovery System


2018-19 Senior Capstone Project


Project Mission Statement

Design, build, and test a flight ready, two-stage recovery system for Launch Vehicle 3 (LV3.1), while being scalable for the future 100 km rocket, Launch Vehicle 4 (LV4).

Executive Summary

The ERS was designed for reliability and repeatability. A fully electromechanical system requires no consumables and allows for rapid assembly and testing. The system deploys in two stages. Stage 1 occurs at apogee, signaling the motor to turn. This spins the twist coupling, releasing the nose cone from the body of the rocket and deploying the drogue parachute. Stage 2 occurs at 1000 ft and signals the linear actuator to retract. This releases the drogue and deploys the main parachute.


Concept Selection & Design Iteration

Table 1 shows the design criteria, ranked in order of importance for successful recovery. These criteria were used to evaluate concepts for both the nose cone release and drogue parachute release.

For the nose cone release, a twist coupling design was chosen featuring retention nubs locked into channels. To actuate the system, a motor rotates the twist coupling, freeing the retention nubs. This allows the tension from a surgical tubing assembly to push the nose cone away from the rocket body.

For the drogue parachute release, an electronically actuated version of the Three Ring Release (Bill Booth, 1979) was chosen. This system uses three rings to reduce the physical force required to release while still being able to sustain the initial shock force from parachute deployment.


This is a current ongoing project, check back for updates…….