The Final Frontier Aerospace Systems and Technology (FFAero) High Power Rocketry Team was founded in September 2015. During this first year, our founders worked to establish FFAero as a competition team, as well as providing students the opportunity to get involved with Tripoli Rocketry Association and the National Association of Rocketry. These nationally-run organizations facilitate high power launches, and get students connected with mentors in the field.
Starting in 2017, FFAero successfully launched and recovered its first high-power rocket as a team. Launching at the 2017 Spaceport America Cup, the rocket named “The Manhattan Project” achieved an 8,800-foot apogee with constant radio communication and GPS location during the entire duration of the flight. The Spaceport America Cup hosts over 120 teams every year from around the globe at Spaceport America outside of Truth or Consequences, NM.
In 2018, the team took on two competitions. In March 2018, The Manhattan Project saw another flight at the team’s first appearance at the Argonia Cup. The Argonia Cup is held about an hour outside Wichita, KS at the Rocket Pasture, a nationally known launch site for high power rocketry with a flight waiver up to 50,000 ft AGL. At this competition, FFAero competed against collegiate teams from the area including Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, and Missouri S&T. In June 2018, the team returned to Spaceport America for its second appearance with the rocket dubbed “SpaceBoatOne.” This rocket was completely manufactured by members of the team, including fiberglass body tubes, nose cone, and custom designed and manufactured engine.
This past year (2019), FFAero once again attended both the Argonia Cup and Spaceport America Cup. In the fall, the team worked with members to complete their Level 1 High Power Certification, allowing them to purchase and fly motors of the H and I class. After that project, the team revamped The Manhattan Project for its final flight at the Argonia Cup and designed a nosecone replacement. This replacement was a multirotor designed to carry the payload back to the launch site. Due to safety concerns the drone was not flown, but provided great research and development for the team for next year. For the Spaceport America Cup, the team built “Jerboa,” a minimum diameter 3in rocket with a square fairing to hold the payload. This was a much more efficient design in terms of cost and weight in comparison to SpaceBoatOne.