Our most ambitious rocket yet, Typhon Heavy is the result of almost a year of research, engineering, manufacturing, and testing, resulting in the creation of our most technically sound rocket. Besides the raw materials themselves, every aspect of the rocket is manufactured by the team. This includes the entire carbon fiber wound airframe, wound with the help of our X-Winder, the fins which are made of carbon fiber sheets, the nosecone which is made of carbon fiber braids, all the parachutes which are handsewn with rip stop nylon, and every remaining part that can be 3D-printed is done so. With the help of our smart-airbrakes, known as the Variable Drag System (VDS), Typhon Heavy will be able to continuously project its trajectory and programatically deploy its brakes in order to hit exactly 5,280-ft, with an error of 33-ft. Typhon Heavy will also house a manufactured quadcopter drone, which will be deployed as the main payload for the "target detection and upright landing" challenge this year at NASA Student Launch. With a total weight of 43.9-lb, and flying on a AeroTech L2200-G, Typhon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket River City Rocketry has flown.

Nose Cone

The LD Haack shape was selected for its healthy balance of mass and coefficient-of-drag. In order to get an ideal finish surface, as to not promote extra drag forces, a method of casting the nose cone with positive and negative molds was used. A positive mold was made of 3D-printed ABS plastic while fiberglass was used to create the negative mold. After the fiberglass mold is cured and released, carbon fiber fabric is laid onto the fiberglass and vacuum bagged for the final result.

Payload Recovery Bay

This portion of the rocket will responsible for carrying the recovery systems that interact with the payload and the nosecone. A rip stop nylon made Custom Cruciform drogue chute and Custom Toroidal main chute are located in this section, harnessed by an ARRD. On the bulkhead of the bay, an altimeter sled will house PerfectFlite Stratologgers CF altimeters for data collection during recovery events.

Deployment Bay

The Deployment Bay houses the deployment system; this is responsible for deploying the payload from the Deployment Bay and the Main Recovery Bay. The DS consists of structures within the Deployment Bay and Main Recovery Bay of the launch vehicle. The payload integrates into the Deployment bay via the deployment tube and the Deployment Tube Baffles. The Deployment Bay Baffles are designed to separate the Propulsion arms and prevent blade breakage during deployment. The Deployment Tube within the bay allows for the black powder charge to separate the payload in a controlled environment protecting the Propulsion Arms.

Payload Bay

The Payload Bay lies in a section between the Deployment Bay above and the Booster Recovery Bay below. The section houses this year's payload, a custom manufactured quadcopter drone, which will deploy at 1300-ft, deploy its arm and legs, and fly to the colored target on the ground below in order to complete its target detection and upright landing mission. The drone is structurally made of carbon fiber, contains two stacked PCBs for the Redundant Recovery System (RRS), a Rasberry Pi flight computer, and a Pixhawk flight controller. The Pixhawk handles all low-level communication with the array of sensors necessary to achieve flight of the multirotor, while the Pi controls the camera to detect and analyze the targets, while also making the master decisions for the autonomous flight of the drone.

Booster Recovery Bay

This bay houses the main recovery systems for Typhon Heavy. The drogue is a custom made 1.9-ft diameter Cruciform chute, while the main deployment parachute is a Toroidal parachute with a diameter of 9-ft; both parachutes are made of rip stop nylon.

Variable Drag System Bay

The VDS Bay is a section located between the Booster Recovery section and the Booster section. This bay contains the auxiliary payload known as the Variable Drag System. As the name implies, the VDS is an air-braking system which was developed, prototyped, and engineered during the summer, and tested to perfection during this season. The VDS continuously predicts the current trajectory of the rocket, and programmatically increases the drag surface of the rocket letting about blades to continuously correct its trajectory from an altitude of 5,500ft without air-braking, to an exact correct apogee of 5280ft.

Booster Bay

This bay houses all the propulsion systems necessary to launch the rocket. Flying under an AeroTech L2200-G motor, the rocket will tear through its surrounds with a total force of 697lbf of thrust and hit an expected altitude of 5,500ft without airbrakes. This sections also contains the Removable Fin System, which contains a modular fin system, allowing the rocket to be recoverable in the unlikely event the damage is done to the fins.

Rocket Flysheet Overview


11.67 ft   3.56 m


469 ft/s2   142.95 m/s2


1147.43 lbf - s   5106.06 N-s


Carbon Fiber


43.9 lbm   19.91 kg


721 ft/s   219.76 m/s


697.31 lbf   3103.03 N


Carbon Fiber