Physik | Technik


Urs Wilcke, 2001 | Ostermundigen, BE


Flight is something that has fascinated the human race from the beginning of time, and ever since, we have told ourselves stories of the amazements and dangers of flight, ranging from the story of Icarus to biblical tales of iron birds. Our goal with this project was to draw on that fascination and achieve a better understanding of the world of flight. As we have always been fascinated by rockets and space flight, especially, the building of our own rocket was the niche of flight we chose to dig deeper into. We wanted to perform a flight with our own thrust-vector-controlled rocket to learn how control theory works and to understand the hardware we needed for that. Through many iterations, hard work, sweat and frustration, we achieved a satisfactory end result and are proud to show you with this thesis, how far we have come with building our own thrust-vector-controlled rocket.


Our goal for this project was and still is understanding, fun and presentable achievements in the area of model rocketry. We want to better understand control theory, 3D-printing, hardware and software tuning. In the end, we want to present a complete process and not just a product. Our aim is research and education, and in the end, we want to achieve something that can be beneficial to the world. Our project is similar to many others, but we try to make it easier to understand and more entertaining so that it reaches a wider audience that can enjoy the understanding and amazement of engineering and the longing for space.


Our methods can be split into two major categories: hardware and software. The parts of the hardware domain are: (i) the building of our own flight controller (including design); (ii) the building of many prototypes, namely EDF-propelled rockets (7 independent prototypes), singlecopters (3 independent prototypes), flying sticks (3 independent prototypes). The parts of the software domain are: (i) writing our own flight software, which includes PID, SD-card logging, interaction surface, data analysis; (ii) familiarizing ourselves with the ArduPilot environment; (iii) tuning PID in Mission Planner.


The results we achieved were diverse, but first and foremost, we learned that you always have to keep on trying and trying. We worked on this project for about a year, and only in the last few weeks did we have any success with it. Physically, our result is Lorenz Block 1.1, a working prototype that includes all the criteria we set for ourselves in the beginning.


We worked a lot on this project, and we want to continue to do so. For this reason, we are currently on the lookout for potential sponsors to finance the continuation of the project. Through this work, we have learned a lot about engineering and the painstaking process of trial and error. We are happy to have come to a working result and are looking forward to the things to come.


We will happily participate in the final round and are looking forward to what is to come. We have plans for the future and in due time, they will be added to this project.



Würdigung durch den Experten

Dr. Hans Kammer

Urs beschreibt den Bau und die Entwicklungsgeschichte eines «Electric Ducted Fans», eines elektrischen Luftstrahltriebwerks. Zuerst erfolglos in einer Rakete und schliesslich erfolgreich mit einem «Flying Stick»-Design. Im Zentrum dieser fachlich ausgezeichneten Arbeit in englischer Sprache stehen ausgedehnte Betrachtungen und Rechnungen zum «Thrust Vector Control», der Regelung des Schubvektors um drei Raumachsen (roll, pitch, yaw) mit Hilfe von Drehflügeln (vanes) im Luftstrahl. Eingesetzt wird ein PID-Regler mit angepasster kommerzieller PixHawk-Hardware und Ardupilot-Software.



Sonderpreis Metrohm – Summer School of Science




Gymnasium und HMS Thun-Schadau
Lehrer: Thomas Thormeier