Notes on payload and avaionics bay design and construction
The following notes show the design and evolution of a payload bay for high power rockets. Initially, the specification was for a universal payload bay, but with each test launch, it became apparent, that a universal design is too much of a compromise, and one will never gain the advantages of a design optimised for a particular vehicle size.
A universal design will either be:
- Too long and wastes space or makes the payload section too long for a smaller diameter rocket,
- Too short and unable to fit a reasonable payload complement,
- Not wide enough and will waste useful space,
- Too wide and hard to fit in a payload bay.
Learning all this through (at times frustrating) practical experience, it became apparent though, that although a universal payload bay itself was a compromise, there were a number of simple techniques that could be applied on any size payload bay, that would make elements within the payload bay more modular, and far easier to work on. Examples of this include:
Benefits: Ejection charges can be attached to full sealed up payload bays, reducing prep time, and increasing safety, due to there being less cables to disturb without needing to slide in and seal up the payload bay with ejection charges fitted.
Benefits: Reduced prep time, and improved modularity.
Benefits: A built in avionics port enables communication with onboard altimeters and charging of batteries without removing them from the payload bay. Both conditions normally result in considerable time taken to open up the payload bay, so the benefits of not having to open up the payload bay, and being able to plug in, are considerable. This has a major benefit of faster prep time for rapid turnaround between launches.
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