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  1. #1
    Join Date
    1st June 2010
    Espoo, Finland

    Full-size Saturn V simulation in OpenRocket

    I decided to test the limits of OpenRocket by simulating a full-size Saturn V rocket in it. I wrote an article on the project for our club magazine (in Finnish).

    The results were reasonably good, considering OpenRocket doesn't do full spherical coordinates and the rocket flew at over 20 Mach. In OpenRocket the design reached an altitude of 152 km, while the true orbital altitude was 191 km. (The curvature of Earth at that distance is ~300km.) The rocket's speed profile matches reality quite well, though it remains 20% too low. The acceleration is very close to reality especially during the first stage.

    (Flight profile, velocity and acceleration. Dashed line simulated, solid line reality.)

    Because I wanted to simulate a real flight where the rocket is actively controlled, I added a script to the simulation which forced the orientation and speed vector direction to be that of the real flight. OpenRocket was left to simulate the acceleration, speed and position of the rocket. (If you want to try this yourself, for security reasons you need to manually re-enable the script in Simulation Options --> Javascript script.)

    You can find the article (in Finnish), the ORK design and necessary engine definition file at

    Below are a few images from the design. I had to use a slightly modified OpenRocket version to create the images, as the default version does not expect the 3D models to be so large.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    13th October 2014
    SouthEastern, WA
    That's pretty cool.


    NAR# 99154

    L3-4x upscale Estes Cherokee-D- AT M1297W 5/28/2016

    TriCities Rocketeers NAR section# 736

  3. #3
    Join Date
    14th July 2015
    Randolph, NJ
    That's awesome. Can you share a screenshot of the side view, with engine? I'd like to see all the numbers.
    Recently completed: upscale Quinstar and APRO Lander II; in progress: Starship Avalon; next up: Accur8-skinned Trajector and Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor
    My photo albums: fleet pics and OR Models

  4. #4
    Join Date
    1st June 2010
    Espoo, Finland
    Here's a screenshot I took for the article. (The real-time simulation results are bogus, since they don't use the script doing the active control.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Very cool, thanks for sharing!
    Dick Stafford
    The member formerly known as the Pointy-Haired Moderator.
    The Original Rocket Dungeon
    Volunteer compiler of product news for ROCKETS Magazine

  6. #6
    Join Date
    27th March 2013
    Has Changed
    Very Nice! I've thought about trying to sim various real life rockets... Hadn't thought about going quite that big.
    Dreaming of making the rockets I dreamed of as a kid (and then some).

    NAR L1 Cert flight: Sheridan, Oregon, USA. Sept. 19, 2015. Flew Deep Space OFFl on an I357T-14A Blue Thunder

  7. #7
    Join Date
    10th July 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Great effort doing this!
    TRA 13430, Level 3

    "Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    11th November 2014
    That is really, really (REALLY!) cool!

    Thanks for all your hard work on OR!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    30th January 2016
    US > OK > NE

  10. #10
    Join Date
    15th October 2015
    Subject to change
    Really cool Sampo. Makes sense to control the orientation since the real rocket isn't passively guided like ours are.

    I'm telling ya though, we're just a hair away from connecting simulation data with that nice Photo Studio. Press play and watch it go!
    NASA success rate since 2000: 94.7%
    SpaceX Falcon 9 success rate: 94.7%
    My personal success rate: 90.9% <--- new goal to hit 95%
    My YouTube channel

  11. #11
    Join Date
    14th March 2009
    Does OR simulate the rocket hitting the dome when it gets high enough? You hoax-deniers and round-earther types really crack me up.

    Seriously, good job.
    NAR# 92125 L1
    Total Impulse for 2017: 1,493.8 N/s Flights: 56
    2017: 1/2A:0, A:6, B:11, C:2, D:12, E:4, F:1, G: I have NEVER launched a G motor, H:1, I:1

  12. #12
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus-cat View Post
    Does OR simulate the rocket hitting the dome when it gets high enough? You hoax-deniers and round-earther types really crack me up.

    Seriously, good job.
    You mean flat-earther types? I really don't know what deniers would be doing on this site since most of us take immense pleasure when Buzz Aldrin popped that guy in the face that hassled him about the moon mission. Kurt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    3rd February 2009
    Edmonton, AB
    Look at that, it's even over 1.0 calibers for stability. Must be all the weight for the LEM that helps it out. What a fantastic project, thanks for sharing it and thanks for all your work on OpenRocket!
    CAR L2 #994
    Edmonton Rocketry Club

  14. #14
    Join Date
    21st December 2013
    That's way cool.

    for your next trick can you please land a falcon 9?
    QRS: 124
    AMRS: 32 L2
    Highest Altitude: 10,849 feet
    Largest Motor: CTI 1115J530 IM
    Current Projects:
    Purple Parrot, X Wing

  15. #15
    Join Date
    23rd October 2015
    Canberra, Australia
    Very impressive. Well done.

    TRA #14574 L2

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