Flying high.


Atlantis Hybrid Rocket

For 2016-17, The Student Organization for Aerospace Research is designing and building the Atlantis Rocket. Named after our sponsor Atlantis Research Labs Inc., the Atlantis Rocket will be going to 30,000ft above ground level for the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The Atlantis Rocket is powered via a hybrid rocket motor; using solid fuel and liquid oxidizer. The hybrid rocket will be carrying an 8.8lb payload which consists of the electronics and a scientific experiment. The rocket will be approximately 18 feet in length, 7 inches in diameter, and weighs 160 lbs at launch.


The rocket project is made up of members from multiple disciplines including but not limited to engineering, physics, and computer science. The project is subdivided into eight teams listed below.

Airframe Team:

The airframe team designs and manufactures the structural components of the rocket including, the airframe, internal structures, nosecone, fins, parachutes, and launch rail.

Avionics Team:

The avionics team designs and builds the hardware aboard the rocket which includes the electronics and motor control system.

Ground Systems Team:

The launch control centre, launch platform and all related support systems.


Payload Team:

A mixture of the other team members, the payload team designs and builds the scientific experiment onboard the rocket for the year’s competition. The scientific experiment differs year to year.

Propulsion Team:

The propulsion team is responsible for the design and fabrication of the rocket motor including the motor control system. For 2016-17, the propulsion team is made up of 4th year mechanical and electrical engineering students, using the motor as their 4th year design project.

Recovery Team:

Part of the rocket that lets us get our data back and reuse the rocket. 


Small Scale Rocket Launch 2016

The rocket test depicted above was conducted in a controlled environment with a Range Safety Officer present, and with the consent of ALL landowners downrange. As outlined below, there will be no launch at the RAO. Please do not try this at home without the proper supervision and research.

The Competition:

The Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), held by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA), is a student rocketry competition where teams from all over the world compete by launching rockets to either 10,000ft or 30,000ft. Being judged on documentation, engineering design, presentation, and performance. For 2017, the competition is held at Spaceport America, New Mexico, as the main event in the Spaceport America Cup Series (SA Cup).

For more information visit the official ESRA page here:

Rocket Testing at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory:

In preparation of an upcoming Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering competition, SOAR will be conducting a series of rocket engine tests. These tests will take place at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) beginning in late March and will run once a week until June. Please note that these tests DO NOT involve a rocket launch or projectile of any kind and are simply static tests of the rocket engine.



Q: Will the noise affect any livestock I may have on my property?
A: We do not anticipate a negative effect on livestock. The anticipated noise level, lasting approximately 6-8 seconds, will be somewhere between 90-100 decibels (dB). To put the level of noise into perspective, the noise generated from a construction site is around 100dB.

Q: Will the testing happen during the day or during all hours? Potentially when I’m asleep?
A: The testing will only occur once a week for approximately 6-8 seconds. Each test will occur during normal business hours between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Q: What safety measures are in place?
A: The tests have been designed with safety in mind with regular safety reviews being conducted throughout the duration of testing. The rocket will be bolted down for the duration of the test and students will be supervised at all times during testing. While there are no anticipated safety concerns during testing the project team has developed a comprehensive emergency response plan. This includes coordinating with the MD of Foothills Fire Department and Protective Services.

Q: What is the radius that the rocket testing noise levels will travel?
A: The map linked to here outlines the radius (in red) that the noise levels (in yellow) will travel during the 6-8 second test as per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) typical sound levels.

Q: Will these types of tests happen more regularly now that the site has been identified as suitable?
A: Tests are planned to take place once a week until June 2017. At this time, there are no plans for additional tests beyond this time frame.

If you have a question that is not answered here or are interested in watching the rocket tests at the RAO , please contact:

Dr. Craig T. Johansen, Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
Schulich School of Engineering
University of Calgary
403.220.7421 or