Project Karman is too large to be managed in a single large group. So, subgroups have been developed to handle specific tasks and efficiently allocate talent. Sub-projects for Project Karman include a simulations group to optimize designs, avionics to program and design the on-board and ground station electronics, airframe to develop design and manufacturing methods of the launch vehicle, and development of a stabilization system
This group uses ANSYS and manual calculations to optimize designs for the launch vehicle and its subsystems, such as fins, body thickness, and nozzle geometry. It works closely with Airframe on final rocket design and material selection. This has been essential in developing plans and testing theoretical changes in design. This subgroup is also responsible for simulating flight paths and maximum altitude of many final rocket design and configuration options.
This groups is working on developing the flight electronics and ground station for the full scale rocket, both hardware and software. It began as a capstone project, and development has continued as a subproject of Karman. The flight electronics will be responsible for tracking of the rocket in flight, providing telemetry to a ground station, igniting the second stage, providing positive confirmation of reaching target altitude, and deploying all recovery systems during descent, as well as data filtering and managing the PID control loop of any active stabilization system.
The launch vehicle has to be able to withstand supersonic speeds, maintain radio contact with the ground station, be reasonably manufacturable, and contain all subsystems. This group works closely with Simulations to determine materials as well as specific structure and design.
Launch vehicles often can tilt up to 30 degrees as soon as they come off the launch rail, as well as tilt due to high winds and due to manufacturing and motor defects. This subgroup is developing three systems in parallel to mitigate this. A gyroscopic precession flywheel is being researched by this group, while passive spin stabilization and yo-yo despin are being developed for two capstone projects.