ICARUS Project

ICARUS is rocket designed to be powered by the 1500Ns solid rocket engine developed by VGT.

Purpose and goals

Main goals of this project are:

  • Test rocket engine
  • Check rocket aerodynamic stability
  • Record flight parameters on the onboard computer
  • Reach the maximum predicted altitude (2500m)
  • Recover the rocket intact after landing with the parachute

Solid propellant rocket engine

One of the major projects of VGT is the development of custom built solid propellant rocket engine. The goal is to achieve a a high ISP with safe and low cost fuel. Known fuel combinations and new ones are being investigated on the ground test stand.

More info here

ICARUS engine test
ICARUS rocket and launch ramp

Test results

Overall project score:

On the 10th of May, 2014 the ICARUS rocket was flown in a remote location.

The flight achieved 3 out of 5 goals of the project:

  • Engine functioned as on ground tests
  • Rocket is aerodynamic stable
  • Data was recovered after flight

The two points that were not achieved:

  • Rocket was not recovered intact. After about 3s from launch of the structure broke in two pieces. The electronic compartment fell on the ground without parachute but the onboard computer survived and scientific data was retrieved.
  • Maximum height was not achieved because of the structural failure took place at a height of ~500m.

The main lesson learned is that during flight, structure solicitation is much higher than anticipated. In our future projects the structure needs to be much more resistant.

Flight data:

  • max speed: 1044 km/h
  • max acceleration: 30 g
  • measured height: 550 m
ICARUS launch

Photo gallery

ICARUS launch ramp ICARUS prelaunch ICARUS launch team ICARUS launch spot after launch

Video gallery

ICARUS onboard camera ICARUS Flight Test - Launch Camera 1 ICARUS Flight Test - Launch Camera 2 ICARUS Flight Test - Launch Camera 3


VGT Team is deeply grateful to Romanian National Institute for Aerospace Research "Elie Carafoli" (INCAS) for the outstanding support in building the ICARUS rocket and the launch ramp. We wish them great success in all the projects they will be involved!