The Recovery team is in charge of safe return of our rockets. They design, manufacture and test a recovery system that can safely return all portions of our rocket to the ground at the speeds required by competition rules.
In the 2017-18 year, the main parachute was 14.77 feet large and the drogue parachute was 3.48 feet. The drogue deploys at apogee and descends at 100 feet per second, and the main deploys at 1100 feet for a landing speed of 23 feet per second. Both of these parachutes are elliptical design, and deployment occurs with an algorithm that reads pressure compared to the launch altitude. Sewing, packing and safely deploying such a large parachute is a significant challenge and as of February 2, 2018 the recovery system was certified flight-ready by the Test Rocket team.
One of the main components of the recovery system is the separator that safely splits the rocket in half and lets the parachutes deploy. The separator consists of two cylinders of metal connected by a ring of FFFF black powder charge.
Ensuring the parachute works is key to any recovery system.