I'm a member of my school's Student Launch Initiative through NASA in which teams from across the country send a proposal to NASA to build a rocket that goes a mile high and contains a scientific payload.  My team really wants our payload to have to do with something related to UAVs and drones, but I'm really concerned about how we will fit an RC plane equipped with ARDUpilot or HappyKillmore into a rocket that has a diameter of about 4 or 5 inches.  I'm really interested in the ARDUplane, so would it be possible to split the wings, attach a hinge and be ok with wiring and whatnot, or would this be near impossible? Or is there another RC plane we could use that has foldable wings that fit into our rocket? We have 7 months if we are selected for SLI so we have time to do work.  Thoughts?

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This project sounds like a lot of fun!  Years ago there was at least one concept at NASA (or a NASA contractor) that revolved around deploying a UAV (they called them RPVs at the time) in the Martian atmosphere.  It involved a wing that folded at the centerline and I believe again further outboard.  Sounds much like where you seem to be heading.


There are other alternatives to accomplish the same thing.  Many missile/UAV systems in service right (including Buzz Lightyear) now deployable fins, they pivot from the fuselage out. Also, there has been a lot of study on inflatable wings.


A particularly brilliant system is used by Prioria in their Maveric UAV.  I attended an industry day event where Prioria was demoing their Maveric. It's a very impressive Raven-sized UAV  whose carbon fiber wing folds/wraps around the fuselage so that the whole UAV can be slid into a small tube.  Brilliant.  And it flys great.






















I suggest doing a Google search on "deployable wings"....  Lots and lots of material out there.



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