Following a string of successful launches at the Spaceport America Cup, the next step forward for the Buckeye Space Launch Initiative is to create a rocket capable of high altitude flights. While BSLI projects have only ever used solid rocket motors, liquid engines offer much greater efficiency and controllability, and thus are better suited for high altitude launches. The team has plans to manufacture and test its first liquid engine by the summer of 2020 and has hopes to launch a liquid engine-propelled rocket within a couple years.
Below is a model of our first liquid engine, the Bumble Bee. The Bumble Bee is a LOx-Ethanol engine that is estimated to produce about 725 pounds of thrust with a specific impulse in the range of 245 seconds.
The project is composed of 4 areas of focus: Coding & Simulation, Cold Section, Hot Section, and Test Stand.
Over the past several months, the team has been working with Midwest Propulsion Group to gain knowledge and experience working with liquid propellants. The team has been gracious for their support and the opportunity to work with them on conducting tests of their Rocketdyne LR-101 engine.
The team has just completed its Critical Design Review and is preparing to manufacture the engine in the coming weeks.