In February of 2019 we were contacted by a young man named Oleg from Canada who was looking for a custom trailer to carry a rocket. He explained that he was part of a student group from a small university in Montreal, Canada that focuses entirely on space research and development. They have built four satellites in the past 8 years as well as several sounding rockets! They were working with the Canadian Space Agency to launch a new satellite from the International Space Station in 2022. They were also working on building a rocket capable of reaching outer space by May 2020. To date there has never been a student group that built a rocket capable of reaching outer space and they were hoping to be among the first! Space Concordia was a small team, but extremely passionate, hardworking, and looking forward to seeing the future development of their project.
How could we not be part of this?!! You know, it will be a rocket trailer 🚀, right? Oleg sent us a rendering of what the team needed, and we knew that we were up to the task. We here at THB learned a lot about rocket science along the way and even though this article is not our usual story where we share the journey of a tiny house builder, we thought our readers would find it interesting. So, hold tight and you may learn a little about space science too!
So, we all set to work designing and redesigning the trailer until we got it just right. The trailer was complete and ready to deliver in early April of 2019.
The group got to work and by June of 2019 Space Concordia entered the Base 11 Space Challenge, the most intense intercollegiate engineering competition in history. It’s a race to build the first civilian liquid-fueled rocket to surpass 100 km in altitude and reach outer space.
“Two days ago, we gave our presentation AND BLEW EVERYONE AWAY. Standing in one of the best engineering universities in the world, and competing with the top universities on the continent, the attendees were shocked to see how a school that nobody had even heard of is now outshining everyone in the room. We walked away from that presentation taking 2nd place for our report, AND a surprise award from one of the competition sponsors Dassault for adopting their software early on in the competition. The judges were amazed by our work ethic, preparedness, outreach, and inclusiveness on the team while other teams were floored by the extensiveness and quality of our technical report! We were also the ONLY team in all of Canada to bring home a podium position! We are all very proud of our work!"
The trailer that we built for the group became the ever-present work horse and was affectionately called Trailer Tom. Can you see our Tiny Home Builders logo on the trailer tongue of second picture?
"Having presented at Caltech, we were able to establish ourselves against some of the world's top universities and bring home Concordia University's largest cash prize to date: $25,000! And that was just the beginning! Since then, we were able to refine our design to one that we are confident will give us a good chance at the gold, break the Karman line , and finally achieve our decade-long goal of reaching space in 2020! Over the summer we built our test stand and have since conducted countless tests. From water to liquid nitrogen, we've been endlessly learning, working and adjusting our system to the point where we're excited to say that we're almost at the point where we can conduct our most difficult test of all: our first rocket engine hot fire. In early spring, we plan to attempt breaking the student record for thrust and impulse by a factor of 4!
(I had to look up Karman line ;) it's the conventional boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space. 🌎)
Despite a global pandemic the Concordia team maintained their commitment and achieved great things for their program. As usual Oleg was eager to give us an update on their success.
"We managed to successfully fire our full-scale rocket engine!!! It is the most powerful rocket engine in Canada, the most powerful rocket engine ever built by students, and it is even more powerful than some rocket engines used by professional orbital launch companies! Check out the Youtube video here. Of the 50 participating universities across North America, we were the only team to succeed in developing a rocket and a full-thrust flight engine, doing so using only a fraction of the resources available to some competitors. Participating schools include the University of Michigan, the University of British Columbia, Purdue University, and the University of Texas. We placed first in the Base11 critical design review in February and was the only Canadian team to submit a flight readiness review in June. Starsailor 💫 aims to be ready to launch within the year. "
"A few weeks ago, the Space Concordia Rocketry team journeyed to Timmins, Ontario, where they undertook one of our most challenging rocket engine tests to date. I'm thrilled to announce that in addition to securing a 1st place prize for our technical demonstration at the Launch Canada competition, our team successfully conducted two 10-second duration hot fire tests on our latest flight engine prototype. This achievement demonstrates that our engine can sustain at least 20 seconds of its final intended 30-second burn time.
To provide some context, our engine generated an incredible 9,000lbs (40kN) of thrust and withstood a peak flame temperature exceeding 3,500 degrees Celsius—approximately 2/3rds the temperature of the surface of the sun. This significant leap forward not only validates our system design but also instills confidence in Transport Canada for granting our launch approval waiver to propel the Starsailor rocket to space from Canadian soil. (Click the picture for the full video)
We can't wait until Olegs next update. We have no doubt that Starsailer, with the help of Trailer Tom, will be flying above the Karman line in no time.
(I'll be sure to add updates to this post as we receive them.)
So, when you are planning to build your tiny house and compare trailer manufacturers just remember the adventures of Trailer Tom and how much workmanship and planning had to go into his construction.
Tiny Home Builders puts this much effort, care, and customer service into all our trailers.
Published on 11/9/2023. Published in Tiny House Trailers & Towing.