A Masters in Rocket Engineering

1 minute read

Thesis Topic:

Transonic Roll Control


Masters of Engineering with distinction


Dr Chris Hann


  • Aerodynamics
  • Embedded Systems and Digital Control
  • Parameter Identification and System Modelling
  • Avionics Development
  • 3D CAD and Rapid Prototyping


My thesis covered aerodynamics, system identification, mathematical modelling and control theory. The thesis was another achievement of the UC rocketry group (www.ucrocketry.org). Our supervisor, Dr Chris Hann, provides the overall vision and direction of the research group.

In the group I headed avionics development. This involved half a year of electronic design and embedded firmware development. I also did some work in 3D CAD designing rocket parts to be machined or 3D printed. Rapid prototyping was a core component of our research and our group maintained an Ultimaker II 3D printer which accelerated our research and launch frequency.

Rocket launches are stressful. After spending months preparing the avionics, airframe, control algorithms, performing wind tunnel tests and countless simulations, the results of your work are determined by the success of a flying pipe travelling at the speed of sound which starts falling to earth 20 seconds after it left. There are many things that can go wrong.

UC Rocketry is one of these rare groups where the team pulls together and achieves amazing results in very short time periods. I have never seen something as effective in industry yet; but I hope I will again someday - wouldn’t it be lovely to be part of a great team and make money while doing it?

Countdown Liftoff Tekapo Calibration Pre-launch Team Emma 1 Team Emma 2