The propulsion department
The propulsion department is responsible for the propulsion element(s) in the rocket as well as the pyrotechnics in any separation events. In the early years of AQUILO the rocket motor used on AQUILO I and II was one manufactured and designed by DARE (The rocket team of TU Delft). For AQUILO III, the intern Tommy Borsboom designed the PB-51 rocket motor. A custom motor, designed by and for AQUILO with the help from Leo Deelman (NERO). This process was not without its difficulties. AQUILO III's PB-51 experienced structural failure upon ignition resulting in the loss of the launch vehicle. The second attempt, the AQUILO III.V, was from a propulsion standpoint a success. From that point forward, the AQUILO PB-51 has flown several times and has proven to be reliable. Currently, the propulsion department is looking to the future, developing three new motors. Two of which are derivatives of the PB-51: The PB-51B and the PB-82 for use in the AQUILO VIII, and one is a completely new design, the RE-1 for use in the AQUILO VII. The department is also looking into the possibility of hybrid or liquid/gaseous rocket engine designs for the long-term future of AQUILO.
The propulsion department consists, as every department, of a department head, members and advisors. The current department is shown below. They deal with a workload that is mostly theoretical in nature. Research, calculation and simulation are of paramount importance when working with motors. The department is also responsible for manufacturing and testing the motors.
Head of the department
My name is Ioannis Neofytos, I am the head of propulsion for 2023-2024 and currently attending the 2nd year of Aeronautical Engineering Bachelor. I am from Greece and came to the Netherlands on August 2022 to study this major. I got into the team in June 2023 and took over the propulsion department from Jondar Hoenselaar in September 1st of 2023. Jondar Hoenselaar managed to influence the team positively in the field of safety protocols, legalities and many more. He passed the department to me in refined condition from the last year. I am certain that together with my department’s members, we will keep the momentum high and exceed our goals. All together we will develop the motor RE-1 and continue developing on a future hybrid or liquid engine design. Moreover, we will ensure that Aquilo’s professionalism will continue to improve, as the team these years has made progress in documentation, legalities, research & safety protocols. Last but not least, each one of us will work together with a goal to leave a better, improved Aquilo next year.