Flight Rocket: Nite-Owl


The goals for this project were to have OTRA’s first Level 3 launch using a solid fuel motor, to have a modular design that could be completely disassembled and serve as a testing platform for future launches, and to be able to integrate OTRA’s 2018 liquid fuel engine Gizzard-1 into our rocket body. It was initially designed to reach an apogee of 10,000-15,000 feet on a Level 3 motor but can be redesigned and re-enforced to reach 30,000 feet.

This project served as the senior capstone project for 9 mechanical engineers as members of Oregon Tech Rocketry and Aerospace (OTRA).  The rocket was built according to the specifications of the Spaceport America Cup Design Rules, but entry in the tournament was not an immediate goal for this year. The members of our project used store bought components and components manufactured in house at Oregon Tech to assemble the rocket. A combination of CNC work, manual machining with mills, lathes, and other tools, welding, and composite hand layups were used to achieve the final product.

The project was successfully launched on Jun 23rd at OROC’s public launch in Brothers OR. It was test launched using an L-805P and flew to 3438 feet by team member Christopher Anderson, certifying him for Level 2 flights.

General Specifications:

  • Filament wound carbon fiber body tubes & coupler and fiberglass nosecone
  • CNC made aluminum centering rings and bulkheads (with wooden and fiberglass adapters)
  • Carbon fiber fins with wooden cores
  • 9G loading capability
  • On board avionics and flight computer capable of transmitting data and independently correcting basic flight anomalies
  • Electro-mechanical recovery system using pressurized CO2.
  • Payload bay capable of 4kg
  • Can be almost entirely disassembled with all internal components replacable, allowing for any of the specifications to be changed or enhanced


This launch tower was designed after a Newman rack tower to allow for various sizes of rockets to be launched from one tower without the use of launch lugs or buttons. The project was made from mainly angle iron with some steel tubing and a deflector plate.

See the final report on this project here

See an album of Nite-Owl’s launch by Christopher Anderson here

See a video of the launch and parachute deployment here

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