Project Ursa

    Project Ursa's mission is to successfully fly a sounding rocket to an altitude of over 100,000 ft. and to capture High Definition video via cameras mounted inside of the rocket.
  One of the main objectives of this flight will be to gather pressure data along the body of the sustainer in order to confirm a CFD Model of the air flow over the body. Lastly, after a completed, successful launch, we will consider providing payload space for potential clients.
  Below is a flow chart of our mission statement which displays our overall goal and the underlying tasks that must be completed to fulfill our goal. You may click on it to view it.


Looking for Launch

  Unfortunately we were unsuccessful with our efforts to raise money on, but still, we push on. We would like to thank everyone who pledged towards our project on Kickstarter and we hope that you will continue to keep up with our developments. The team has been participating in weekly and bi-weekly Skype calls as we look for more funding sources and someone looking for payload space to 180,000 ft.

  As we search for funding opportunities we are also working on original projects to quench our thirst for aerospace knowledge and discovery. We were very excited to see Space X succeed in resupplying the ISS and return cargo on the Dragon's back safely. We look forward to manned flights withing the next couple years!

A Rocket Safari
  Project Ursa and the Mavericks Civilian Space foundation are teaming up to go on a rocket safari in the Black Rock Desert! We're planning to begin our excursion on September 27th, leaving from California in a convoy of RV's, trucks and trailers. To raise money for the excursion we've started a fundraising campaign with the Rocket Mavericks on  If you can imagine the resources it takes to sustain human life for almost a week in the middle of a desert, then you can probably begin to understand the cost of such an operation. We're not looking to launch only the DeltaP, however; the Rocket Mavericks will also be bringing their Beagle IV class rocket and we expect to see a few more launches of some smaller rockets while we're there. If you are interested in helping fund us, please visit the Kickstarter link underlined above. There are rewards involved for different levels of funding, so if you donate to our cause, you'll get something in return! Here is a list of the donation rewards:

$25-$99_______Project Ursa team photo, dvd of onboard flight
  video, personal thank you letter form the team
$100-$249_____All of the above, team T-shirt, 5"x7" Shutterfly Flight
$250-$499_____All of the above, mission patch, invitation to the Safari
  & Launch Party(4 day event, travel and
  accomodations not provided)
$500-$999_____All of the above, and bring a guest with you to the
  Safari(travel and accomodations not provided)
$1000-$2499___All of the above, scale model of DeltaP, Maverick's
  Safari Jacket with mission patch
$2500-$9999___All of the above, your name on the rocket, a mission
  wall plaque
$10000________All of the above, YOU GET TO PRESS THE LAUNCH
  BUTTON, you get to fill the payload bay with
  anything up to 5kg, an RV will be made available for
  you to stay in (Travel not included)

Please help our cause and donate now!

Launch Preparation

  At long last we have a completed airframe! When we last left a post, about two months ago, we had just barely begun fabrication. Over those two months, countless hours were spent with the lathe, manual mill, CNC mill and TIG welder here in Crosby Lab. While we were planning to launch in late April, it would seem that mother nature foiled another group of rocket enthusiasts' plans. We knew that our ability to launch would be heavily dependent on the weather at the Black Rock Desert and so we are looking forward to our two backup launch dates to carry out our mission.
  On June 17th we are looking to accomplish two objectives: 1) static test the booster motor and 2) launch our second stage sustainer by itself as a test launch. This will allow us to gain more confidence in our separation and recovery system. Following the June 17th launch, we will fly the DeltaP in its entirety between July 23rd and 28th.
  You can view pictures of our completed airframe on our Photobucket page here or on our Facebook which is linked above.

It's Go Time!

  With less than two months to go we have finally completed the design stage and are going full force into fabrication. Over the next couple of weeks, parts will be arriving and all of our SolidWorks models will be coming to life.
  We were very priviledged to have our SolidWorks model on display at the 2012 SolidWorks World Convention in San Diego at the Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation booth earlier this month. During the conference, Paton Group, one of the CAM companies attending, was challenged to machine our camera bay door/shroud using their CNC machine on the spot. Despite the complexity of the part, which we were planning on assembling out of multiple parts by welding, they succeeded!
  Completion of the rocket redesign, one of our biggest milestones for this semester, has finally been completed. The redesign involved myriads of late night Skype calls with Tom Atchison, Dick Matthews and Rob Briody of the Mavericks. Our design was split up into categories such as recovery, avionics, separation and structure, and discussed to work out any kinks in our plans. We are extremely fortunate to have Tom, Dick and Rob dedicated to our project!
  Next week, Luke and Gerard will be flying to California to test the booster motor and lay up the nosecone with Tom. Robbie, Josh and Ryan will be presenting our project at the Engineering Expo being held at UMaine on March 3rd. More design reports and a completed drawing package will be posted within the next couple of weeks to our Design page.

95 Days to Go

  After a few months of careful planning and design, we have finally begun to reach the fabrication process of our rocket. Since our last post, we have decided to use a solid booster rather than a hybrid booster for our first stage. That is not to say, however, that Luke has given up on his design for a hybrid booster! He continues to work on the valve flow characterization of his hybrid motor to satisfy his Honors thesis while now also helping with the development of the Q sized solid booster that is being developed by the Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation. All this only after we couldn't find a safe place close enough to the east coast to test the hybrid in time and several industry experts suggested that since NASA's been working on a 10" hybrid for 5 years without success, it might be difficult to do in a matter of months! Still there is a chance that we might be able to work on a hybrid motor after we graduate for interested firms. All is certainly not lost!
  The plan is to continue with a newly redesigned two stage, solid to solid rocket. Links to our design reports and various PDF's can be found in our Design page. We hope to update more frequently in the coming months and include photos of our fabrication progress.

  More Content, A New Name and
Some Exciting News!!!

  Well we’ve had some exciting developments since our last post. Two weeks ago we had the pleasure of Skype conferencing with Tom Atchison of the Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation. If you’ve never heard of the Mavericks, you should check out a video documentary of a launch that Tom completed with Sony and the Science Channel in 2010. Tom is no stranger to projects just like ours and he has graciously offered to lend his expertise and to ask his friends in the rocketry industry to help us out. On top of that, he’s asking around to get us sponsors! We are absolutely giddy about this and can’t help but smile when we think about it!

  One of Tom’s first tasks for us was to think of a “cool” name for our project and our rocket. This was one of the hardest tasks we’ve had to complete yet, but one option has risen above the rest. We are Project Ursa, creators of the DeltaP rocket. Ursa because UMaine’s mascot is the black bear and because Ursa signifies the constellation Ursa Major. Our rocket is the DeltaP because part of our mission is to gather pressure data along the body of the rocket.

  Although Tom has expressed enthusiasm about what we have accomplished, he has also pointed out some fundamental flaws in our approach to building this thing. Basically, we were doing a lot of engineering without looking at the big picture. However, with a new(used) coffeepot in the lab, 10lbs of roast and a new name, we are ready to get back on track and utilize all of Tom’s advice to ensure success!

-Team Ursa

New Content

  We have just updated our Design and Milestones pages with reports, graphics and other interesting information. If there is any information that you would like to see or if you just want to talk about rocketry, contact us at


  1. Nice booster nozzle. Just to let you know, It is my design. I taught the Rocket Mavericks how to design and make them.

    Good luck with your flight!
    Kimball Tucker

    (Posted on 2012-07-12 01:17:00 by )
  2. Hi Robert! Glad to see some interest! For some reason I can't see any email that you might have provided when leaving a comment so please email me at and we can start talking about your project.

    (Posted on 2012-07-03 12:06:00 by )
  3. Hello,

    My name is Robert Ragland and I am currently a junior at Boise State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I have had a fascination with rockets since I can remember and I can’t think of anything better to cap off my degree than to do a similar type rocket project for my senior design project.

    I was wondering if I could get a copy of your entire final report, appendices intact, as well as any additional information that you would be willing to give me so that I could submit them to Boise State as a preview to what I would like to do as my senior project. To the best of my knowledge nothing like this has ever been done before at Boise State and as such, I might run into some problems getting it approved without proof that it has been successfully accomplished before at other schools. I would like to get the approval process started now so that I can make sure to have enough time to get a project like this completed.

    Thank you for your time.

    (Posted on 2012-06-12 03:05:00 by )

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