An all-in-one rocket simulation solution - by the members of Propulse NTNU
What is Penumbra?
Propulse has previously developed their own simulation tool to predict the trajectory of our rockets. A 6 DOF stochastic simulations. Unfortunately the tool has virtually no documentation and limited capability - thus in need of a rebuild. The legacy version of penumbra is written in Python and uses the extended Barrowman / equations of prediction of the aerodynamic characteristics. C++ is the desired language for the rebuild as it interfaces nicely with the other operations of Propulse NTNU and it can be made to be very efficient.
Why put in the effort?
There are commercial and open source alternatives to Penumbra, like Open Rocket and RASAero. These will be used for rocket development within Propulse NTNU for some time to come, however there are huge long term benefits of developing a proper in-house simulator. We have previously had great experience with using the legacy version of Penumbra to perform Monte Carlo simulations, but its potential is barely tapped into.
The features of Penumbra
A complete simulation package requires many modules and features. At its core, Penumbra will be a 6 DOF dynamic trajectory simulator where every aspect of the simulated rocket can be customized to fit the desired analysis. A proper wind model will have to be developed, as most simulation software use quite rudimentary models, so there is a lot to gain here. We will also employ the CFD software OpenFOAM which also uses C++. This essentially means that you could interface with both tools in parallel creating advanced optimization of the trajectory as well as the geometry of the rocket. The same goes for interfacing with the different algorithms controlling the rocket. They could be run directly in the simulator, essentially "fooling" the algorithm to think it is actually flying. Developing a sophisticated in-house simulation tool would put Propulse in the elite of precision and aerodynamics in the field of student rocketry. The end goal of penumbra is to provide Propulse NTNU with a more sophisticated trajectory tool than what is currently available to the general public, as well as facilitating the development of more efficient rocket designs and design methodologies.
Who should apply?
You should! There are many aspects of this project that fits different competencies. Previous experience with modeling and simulation, control algorithms, CFD, aerodynamics, cybernetics, programming, or dynamics will of course set you apart as a candidate, but are not necessary. If you are lacking any of these qualifications but want to learn about these fields, you are welcome to join.
Any questions can be sent to email@example.com