First Advisor

Robert Paxton

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering and University Honors


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Parachutes -- Deployment, Parachutes -- Design and construction, Parachutes -- Testing, Rockets (Aeronautics)




This research has developed a viable drogue parachute release system sufficient for recovering level 3 amateur rockets. The system is based on the simple mechanics of combining two lever arms and a 2 to 1 pulley interaction to create a 200:1 force reduction between the weight applied to the system and the force required to release it. A linear actuator retracts a release cord, triggering the three rings that hold the system together to unfurl from one another and separate the drogue parachute from the payload. Three variations of the concept were prototyped and tested primarily for the required pull force to actuate. The results demonstrated that for any set the force should never exceed 4 lbf. Parachute testing was also completed to prove that most of the energy change during the drogue parachute deployment is absorbed by the actual parachute and not the release system’s hardware. This system will be integrated into the Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) rocket, scheduled to launch in July 2019.


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