ZEpHyR is a hybrid powered sounding rocket with a diameter of 0.18 metres, a length of 4 metres and a weight of 80 kilograms. This rocket motor uses paraffin as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser to generate a specific impulse of 225 seconds and a thrust of nearly 2000 newton. It weighs about 30 kilograms including 9 kilograms of paraffin. It was designed to reach an altitude of about 3000 metres and to fly with supersonic speed. The hybrid rocket engine has the advantage, that it is safer and more environmental friendly than most of the other sounding rocket motors, which have hazardous and highly explosive propellants inside.

ZEpHyR 1 on MAN-Launcher

Rocket subsystems

The rocket has five primary systems:

  • Recovery system for a safe landing, which consists of a small drogue parachute and a main parachute
  • Telemetry system, accelerometer, GPS module, gyroscope amongst others
  • Pressure regulated feed system covering a helium tank, liquid oxidiser tank, a pyro-valve and a pressure reducer
  • Hybrid engine consisting of an injector, the combustion chamber including paraffin and the nozzle
  • Structure made of glass fibre reinforced plastics and aluminium

How was the rocket fuelled?

A remote controlled mobile ground support equipment (GSE) cart of the size 1.5×1.2×1.0 metres was developed. The cart was responsible for production of liquid oxygen, rocket fuelling with liquid oxygen and helium, battery charging, power connection and communication with the rocket.