MELBOURNE, FLA. — Dr. Daniel Kirk, Florida Tech assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has earned a $110,000 one-year grant from Space
Florida to design and build a novel rocket thrust test stand. The transportable stand will allow Florida Tech students, and others who experiment with
rocketry, to study the operational characteristics of solid rocket motors and to capture data. Co-principal investigators on this project are Florida
Tech mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty members Dr. Clint Morrow and Dr. Razvan Rusovici,
“One goal of the project,” said Kirk, “is to enable universities and small businesses to affordably certify that their solid rocket motors are safe for
launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Universities in Florida and around the country will be able to more accurately compete in student rocketry
contests when they use our stand.” The stand is expected to be 12-feet long, 2 feet high, 2 feet deep and weigh 1,000 pounds.
Additionally, the stand will serve as a teaching tool for students of all ages and grade levels who study rocketry. Work has begun and a preliminary design
is complete and under approval. The project also involves graduate aerospace engineering students Joseph Atkinson and Zachary Brimhall. Undergraduates
are also participating, including a student design project team working on their culminating project for graduation.
Florida Tech offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering.