What does it take to be a rocket scientist and the way does a motorsports background assist, if in any respect? Generally evidently gearhead sorts I meet pop up in quite a lot of different roles. Perhaps it displays the smalltown environment in New England.
Luke Saindon of Wiscasset is an actual rocket scientist. I first met him and Heman Norris after they had been college students on the College of Maine at Orono in November 2010. They’d simply based the UMaine Formulation SAE group that designs high-performing racecars.
Caribou Tech Heart coworker Keith Dumond and I had been on a mission to see if our college students would possibly take a small function in constructing the UMaine Formulation SAE automobile. They ultimately constructed the suspension mounting tabs, suspension mounting rails, internal a-arm inserts and gasoline tank.
I wish to deliver people in control on what Saindon, a Deer Isle native, has been as much as since I featured him in Episode 36 of UpNorth Motorsports in December 2014.
I seen on social media that bluShift Aerospace was on the point of launch an experimental bio-fueled rocket on the former Loring Air Drive in Limestone. Whereas poring via the information and press releases, I seen a man who seemed acquainted. Certain sufficient, it was Luke Saindon, who’s the Senior Mechanical Engineer at bluShift Aerospace headquartered on the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.
He has been a part of the group at bluShift since September 2019.
“I used to be born in 1990 and raised on Deer Isle, off the coast of Maine, in a wind-powered home,” Saindon mentioned. “Till attending Deer Isle Stonington Excessive Faculty from 2004-08 I used to be home-schooled. I at all times had an curiosity in engineering, which began within the store serving to my father. Throughout highschool, I began constructing small rocket engines, a fascination that also continues.”
Saindon earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 from the College of Maine and took a number of internships to broaden his areas of experience, starting from NASA to environmental engineering to engaged on a farm in France.
“An vital a part of life has additionally been artwork, which I’ve at all times been uncovered to by taking courses and constructing sculpture since I can keep in mind,” Saindon mentioned. “My mom at all times inspired and facilitated that side of my life.
“I consider that engineering and artwork ought to work collectively extra carefully, and would each profit consequently. People who mix the 2 efficiently create lovely work and encourage me,” he mentioned.
Saindon defined that each features are vital and that a lot of his artwork items are kinetic sculpture with engineering parts.
Saindon dabbled in Estes rockets, however wished to strive one thing larger. In his highschool physics class, he sought to earn his Tripoli Degree I certification in an effort to construct and fly a high-powered rocket.
“I led a group in my physics class to construct a small, three-stage rocket. [I] labored because the draftsman on the group,” he mentioned. “I used Google SketchUp to mannequin the autos after which helped the remainder of the group observe my plans.”
The mission taught Saindon the significance of the airframe heart of stress and heart of gravity and the way they relate to stability.
“The Tripoli Degree I certification rocket went up and not using a hitch. The smaller class-built rocket failed as a result of one of many booster engines didn’t gentle, inflicting off-center thrust,” he mentioned.
In June 2013 he went to work for Mide Know-how Company, an aerospace and mechanical engineering agency in Woburn, Massachusetts.
Luke was a founding member of Staff URSA, a multidisciplinary group that enhances STEM schooling by designing and fabricating reference designs for suborbital house exploration. In 2016, Staff URSA launched a multistage rocket within the Mojave Desert together with Mavericks Civilian Area Basis and founder Thomas Atchison, who is sort of a mentor to Saindon.
Saindon labored as a volunteer for the startup bluShift Aerospace after founder/CEO Sascha Deri reached out to him a few paper Saindon wrote at UMaine about hybrid rocket motors. Deri knew that sort of rocket was what his firm wanted to show the bio-based gasoline he developed is likely to be used as a rocket propellant.
When Saindon efficiently wrote a Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis (SBIR) grant, he was capable of return to Maine and work full time for bluShift.
“We focus our experience in aerospace, laptop science, physics, manufacturing and mechanical design utilizing Scrum framework, holding bSA gentle on its ft and fast to adapt,” the corporate web site says. “The consequence being a rocket developed to have an ultra-efficient nozzle, cutting-edge supplies, and stellar gasoline efficiency.”
The group hopes to launch from Loring Air Drive Base this month, however the scheduled Jan. 15 launch date was scrubbed on account of a low 3,900-foot ceiling. They want 6,000 ft to launch the rocket about one mile vertical.
Saindon is also fascinated by autocross, having previously run his 1986 Porsche 944 at Loring through the Cumberland Motor Membership Mega Autocross. He had changed the Porsche turbo engine with a extra highly effective Chevrolet LS V8. He additionally raced the automobile at Blackhawk Farms racetrack in Wisconsin whereas visiting kin.
Saindon’s present mode of transportation is a Mercedes field van that has been transformed to dwelling quarters. He’s trying ahead to racing an electrical sports activities automobile if such a automobile is made.
He and fellow bluShift mechanical engineer Brook Halvorson additionally share a love for Formulation 1 racing. They evaluate notes earlier than and after races and discuss in regards to the sport.
Saindon mentioned his expertise on the UMaine Formulation SAE group has been vital in his profession growth.
“Formulation SAE made me who I’m in the present day. It was instrumental in getting internships and taught me how you can work in teams,” he mentioned. “It was nice on my resume. Since I began [UMaine Formula SAE] I realized an ideal deal about management.”