My rockets, known as Endeavour and Endeavour Heavy, are designed with the intention of capturing aerial photos and data such as altitude, speed, pressure, temperature and flight duration.
The rockets themselves are built using mostly Estes rocket kits and the launch controller is built using a USB controlled 2 channel relay.
I’ve included a circuit which safely tests the continuity of the igniter without the risk of the rocket launching early.
I’ve also programmed a launch controller on my laptop to control it.
The first rocket was a single stage, 3 fin rocket, measuring 49cm tall, equipped with a 12″ parachute with a spillhole. It was powered by a powerful Klima D9-7 Motor with a total impulse of 20n. It propelled the rocket to an altitude of around 2000ft within a couple of seconds.
On Saturday 4th Jan 2017 the rocket was launced and a very small camera mounted into the body captured some aerial photos of the M20, M26 motorways and surrounding countryside. Other than an issue with the original launch controller the flight was a success. The rocket was incredibly fast and flew straight. It was rotating on its axis which made for nauseous viewing of the video footage! The parachute deployed right on schedule and took the rocket to a safe landing and recovery.
Weather: VISIBILITY Good, TEMP 7c, WIND SPEED 4mph, MAX GUST SPEED Est 6-7mph, WIND DIRECTION NNW
Launch Time: 13:23.19 (Launched at T-5 due to a hardware fault)
Flight Duration: 2 mins 10 secs
Estimated Altitude: 2000 ft
Distance from Launch Pad: 1400 ft
Following the first launch I got to work on a data logger system. Using a modified Arduino nano and some components, speed and altitude are logged to one micro SD card and video to another. I had help from a colleague to get the Arduino to control the integrated camera.
A new rocket was built, a 2 stage rocket propelled by D9-0 motor in stage 1 and a D9-7 motor in stage 2. The parachute system from the previous launch has been swapped for a mylar system this time which will bring the rocket back to earth much faster. This will allow me to use a smaller launch site as the rocket will not travel so far down wind. One of my oldest friends built the rockets fins and motor mounts.
No further changes were required to the launch controller hardware. The software has been reprogrammed to work with the new timings though.
Its ready to launch, and in a post covid world a launch will be scheduled. Watch this space!