Hephaestus is the first Italian rocketry school team.
There are no limits of space and imagination above our heads.
Space belongs to everyone and with the right means we can exploit its almost infinite resources.
The first step is to obtain the means.
This is where I, you, us come into play.
Italian and French versions here:
🚀 project and website author - Christian Ferracane 🚀
We have the tools, and they are just a click away.
Dozens of useful materials are published on the internet every day; you just need to know how to interpret them and make the most of them to be able to learn quickly.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to immediately understand how everything works starting from scratch.
This project was also born with this intention: to put together all the materials that have helped me since I started this project in April 2020, initially as a personal project, then with the help of a team that I set up at the Liceo Classico Carducci, which represented an essential resource.
On this website, you will find all the information you need to get started or even just improve yourself if you want to reproduce the project.
what do we do?
Hephaestus can boast of a subdivision into three autonomous departments that deal with developing the avionics systems, the propulsion systems, and finally the rocket's structure.
This department is responsible for the design, research and development of everything related to rocket propulsion.
The engine is made up of two or more chemical components (an oxidizer, a propellant and possibly a catalyst) which, when subjected to high temperatures, ignites and produces a strong amount of pressure (and heat), which, if redirected to a nozzle, allows us to generate thrust. This department is responsible for testing all the most important combinations of propellant / oxidant ( and some catalyst). In addition to the more practical part, members will have to develop the design of the support that will contain the motor itself. The choice of materials naturally implies a "study" of computer simulations, in order to avoid exceeding the breaking points due to excess pressure or temperature.
This department is responsible for the design, research and development of everything related to rocket electronics.
The members will be required to do two main tasks: on the one hand, they will have to design a PCB board (like this one), on the other hand, it will be necessary to write a code that can actively stabilize the rocket during the entire ascent phase. The purpose of this department is to provide for all the rocket activities, from stabilization, through data recording up to the ejection of the parachute. Therefore, it will be necessary for the participants to study some notions of mathematics and computer science and then apply them within the software. Regarding the PCB's design, it will be enough to learn how to use specific software for this type of use.
This department is responsible for the design, research and development of everything related to the structure of the rocket.
The participants of this department will have to deal with the digital and practical design of each structure of the rocket and of each plant that will be used in the tests of this. To do this, members will use tools and materials starting from the 3D printer up to carbon fiber, and, before building each section, they will determine which is the best material according to durability criteria, weight, price, ease of use and replica etc. This department also has the task of carrying out flight simulations (in collaboration with the electronics department), as the stability and correct aerodynamic set-up is a consequence of their work.
Each of these departments works almost independently from the others (except in cases of collaboration between them), with the advantage of speeding up the processes and targeting the individual goal of each, thus avoiding having to learn too many things in an inefficient way.
what are we aiming for?
Our goal is to create a rocket, yes, but not just a normal one:
we aim to create an active and intelligent stabilization system.
This must be able to determine for itself, in a continuous loop, if the model is losing stability and moving out of its trajectory, and then correct the direction of the thrust vector provided by the motor.
This certainly requires a lot of mathematics, physics and a great desire to learn how to translate everything into a language that our on-board computers can understand. It also requires structural design skills (as in the case of the TVC you just saw) and propulsion (spoiler: without that the rocket won't go up).
sO ARE YOU GOING TO SEND IT TOdHaMOOON?
Space means crossing the Karman line (> 100km).
I would say no.
The goal of this project is not precisely to create the most powerful rocket possible and launch it at km and km of altitude.
Simply because it would not make sense: if our goal is to develop and test electronic systems in fact the most logical and intelligent thing is to keep the model at close range, so as to never lose eye contact. Sending a five-foot-long missile to one-and-a-half times the speed of sound may sound cool, yes, but for our purposes it makes no sense or usefulness.
ATHENA V2.0 AND TVC V3.0 ( CURRENTLY IN USE)
the previous version: Athena V1.0
The bottom one is Athena V1.0, later replaced by V2.0.
Move on this 3D model to analyze and understand the structure of our TVC!
We were present at the Maker Faire Rome of 2021 !! #MFR2021!