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Opennautics is a community of enthusiasts dedicated to open source space exploration.

Open Source Products

Opennautics is developing open source space exploration hardware, such as rocketry and astronomy products. Collaboration of product development and documentation can be accomplished in the cloud with GitHub and by building up the wiki. View the calendar to see upcoming events and project milestones.


The success of Opennautics and open source space hardware depends on the community. Submit ideas and discuss new innovations. Add images and give your thoughts in the forum. Take a look at the user contributed showcase to see photos and altitudes that members have achieved.

Start Exploring

Join the Opennautics community by creating a new account. As an open source hardware advocate, Opennautics encourages anyone to freely download design documentation (CAD), view bill of materials (BOM) and improve upon the existing products. Tutorials are available for beginners. View the frequently asked questions, and learn how to help Opennautics grow.

Open Source Hardware

"Open Source Hardware (OSHW) is a term for tangible artifacts -- machines, devices, or other physical things -- whose design has been released to the public in such a way that anyone can make, modify, distribute, and use those things." Opennautics has chosen to use the CERN Open Hardware License for all products.



Ignition with a disposable camera flash system

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While waiting for a new Spark Gap Igniter to be delivered to replace the one that failed during the previous test, I tested yesterday evening ignition with a modified disposable camera flash system.

Testing a First Injector Plate With Water

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Continuing from the last post, where I had acquired our injector plate components, I wanted to simply test the flow that the oxidizer will have. Fortunately, I have access to a 3D printer which allows me to create many useful items. In this case, I quickly modeled an adapter that screws onto the threads of the injector nozzle and slips over an outdoor faucet so that we can see how water will pass through. This gives a good indication of how the chosen oxidizer will behave.

Designed by us, made in China

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With work ongoing in developing a static hybrid rocket test, our minimum viable product has been having difficulties with a viable nozzle. We have not yet developed the art to produce a nozzle made from fireplace sealant. We cannot find the resources to machine a metallic or graphite nozzle ourselves. Until today, we had only a temporary solution utilizing a casted concrete nozzle.

No flames, but new lessons learned

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I aimed to achieve the first controlled combustion last Tuesday at the lab, and unfortunately our test felt short of the expectations.

The full setup can be seen in this video: beyond planning a bucket of water, a firefighting blanket and a fire extinguisher, a compressed air pipe came into the butt of the test system, and the computer power supply provided the necessary electricity to the spark gap igniter. The motor was fastened to a heavy palet using plumbing clamps.

Test system assembled - OK!

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Last week at the lab, I was able to assemble the full preliminary test system, with the cement nozzle now in place within the aluminium tube, next to a paraffin grain, and the tube entry closed by the aluminium part machined earlier

The plan is now to fit a steel tube (length to be determined) in the hole of the machined part, where we will then release the compressed air from the lab compressor. At around 2 bars, that should not create much mass flow with the combustion, yet it should still create a nice flame.


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