Time to sum up…

Here I am,
for the first post in the new Diary of a Rocket Scientist section that comes as inspiration from a series of blog articles by a Skyward alumnus named Pietro Campi, hope he won’t complain about copyrights infringment but I tought it was a very nice idea… 🙂

The idea is to leave a place on the site where all of those that would like to write a bit about their experiences in the university and in the Skyward daily work and, more widely, about aspects of the aerospace world, could write with a more informal language. A way to tell how’s it going and how we want it will go…

I beg for your understanding if my English is not grammar-nazi-proof, but I couldn’t ask to Nina, our website manager, to translate the article during Christmas Eve!

Last year in Skyward

HRE100K, Rocksanne 2X and Rocksanne 2\(\alpha\), Cyrano

Last year in Skyward has been particular: some sort of hand-over, that’s always difficult. We were coming from the 2014’s successful launches of #R1X that sponsored a great enthusiasm for everyone, ready to launch a new rocket an order of magnitude bigger than the previous ones.

The development of a solid rocket motor of the required size was not feasible for the association’s logistics, cooking at home a so-big sugar and \(KNO_3\) grain was not an option there. For this reason and to have more certainties about the security of the activities, we decided to switch to an hybrid technology.

To launch a rocket with an hybrid motor of \( 5\,\text{kN}\) you need to think about the system, think to design it but, above all, test it. That’s what we have been trying to do during this year about the propulsion system of #R2X… finding a test area that was near enough and that would be able to allow us to face the test campaign in total security. We’re still searching…

But you can’t stop the exciting feeling of watching a launch for long and the subsystems designed for Rocksanne 2X shoud be tested… So we stated that we would have launched a preliminary “alpha” version of R2X, Rocksanne 2 Alpha, with a commercial solid rocket motor that would fulfill the need of tests for the systems and it would allow the new skywarders to raise their nose and watch a flying rocket payloaded with their dreams and passions.

The 2015 has been also the year in which Skyward entered the proper aeronautics world… we do airplanes! Politecnico di Milano has a big tradition in the research for aircrafts of every kind and we should’t have missed the chance to have a linked student project. The rockets?! We mount them underneath the plane…

EASM2015 and the rest of the world


2015 has been even the year in which the European Record for the apogee altitude of an amateur rocket was broken. The same record holders (DARE Team from Netherlands) succeeded in pushing it to 21 km.
The Stratos II flight inspires those who want really learn to build rockets and it’s and index of a phenomenon I believe is incredibly important for the formation of the young rocket scientists wannabe: “allow young people doing whatever they want to do”. This way of thinking enables several virtuous mechanisms: records are broken, you learn how to design and how to manage the project, most importantly you grow passion for something that is (also) the result of your work, you think and dream “big”, you become more and more skillful facing the challenge of changing the world.
But also the competition should be sane. Meeting and discussing of things you like, understanding how others do what you want to do, helps the maturation progress and in future, maybe, the competition could transform into collaboration…

My last 4 years…


Good things starts serendipitously.
I really do not know why I decided to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I don’t think I liked planes so much and even today I do not know every single thing about them. I’m not one of those that are able to identify an aircraft from its landing gear or a launcher from its code printed on the fuselage. Nope. But I’m still incredibly happy for choosing this way. I like what I study. I like it a lot.

The fact I like what I do is exclusively due to Skyward Experimental Rocketry. It was a day like another when Luca forced me to listen about a group of crazy people and what they’re trying to achieve. This group of crazy people kept going around Bovisa and inside the campus garages in Certosa carrying a “long stuff”, and this sounds quite weird, I know, made of wood. Something that was resembling a rocket in the bright nights, whenever planets succeeded in aligning correctly. With a concrete nozzle, yeah! They wanted to make it real, this dumb thought, presenting to the Aerospace Department.

  • «Do you have a website? A Facebook page?»
  • «We’re moving for the website, we just created the Facebook page, Gabriele is managing it»
  • «But how’re you doing it? w/ WordPress?»
  • «What the hell is WordPress buddy?»
  • «Ok ok, I understood. I do it. I do it.»*

* in Italian it’s way more funny. Probably.

That’s how it starts. Trying to do a webpage, that was also orrible… (if someone has it in some archive please do not publish it :/ )

From that day, I don’t know how, three launches, being President, a lot of people, a lot of passion and the desire to make it serious in a career… During 4 years that, thinking carefully, passed quite quickly.

I’m sure that Skyward is a beautiful thing. Really. I believe that it gives a volume to a student curriculum, and that’s a minor aspect IMO, but it builds up personalities feeding them with passion as well. Being among people that embrace same passions or even different interest but that are able to transmit them, as they were a contagious illness, it’s simply good. Pleasant. Effective.

And with the coming of the new President Christian I hope that this spirit will keep inspiring and Skyward will keep staying at Politecnico di Milano and I dream that this spirit could interact with people growing in power and enriching all of them. I’m not talking only about members, but also Professors, sector experts, passionate and simple random observers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. And good luck to the skywarders.



PS: We do this for emotions like this one: