Arduino Space Program

With the recently proposed cuts to NASA, our friends across the pond (in Northampton UK) decided to take action with a space program of their own… at least at a miniature scale. NortHACKton, a hackerspace in Northampton decided to host a rocketry day consisting of rockets powered by chemical reactions, pressurized water bottles, and even one that employed an Arduino controlled launch system, akin to a few we have seen in the past. It essentially consists of a countdown and automated ignition system. Schematics and source code are available for those adventurous enough to embark on missions of their own.

89 thoughts on “Arduino Space Program

  1. @MSRaynsford
    The key is a little better. The person hooking up the wires has the key.
    Disconnecting the battery is reliable but you have a humans factors problem. What if someone decides to be helpful and sees the lose wire?
    People do the silliest things.

  2. “Most of the software guys I have worked with did not really understand the hardware that they were coding for”

    A valid point. Just like the the hardware guys who don’t get software right?

    “and they were stuck-up dicks about it too”

    Did they say things like “Also, thinking about it, I think that I have a little resentment against projects that are really just [hardware] experiments.”

    “Even the old timers, hardware guy starts telling them what they are doing wrong in software and they turn in to complete dicks.”

    Do hardware guys never do this?

    “I think more than anything else, that is why I resent the “arduino”; I want to see REAL hacks (hardware creativity!) and not some software experiment.”

    So I suppose that when someone wants to make a microcontroler based widget they need to start by designing the controler from scratch? I for one am very impressed when I see things like the Magic-1 but I don’t think every project should start that way. I suppose you have some other favorite in mind, PIC, straight AVR, etc… Is that really so much different though?

    Come on guys, some people write software, some people design hardware. Some even do both. Why not enjoy what you do without tearing down others? You might even learn something that way!

    Also, it’s not like people necessarily submit their projects to hack-a-day themselves along with a 5 page essay about why they are so awesome and belong on page 1. I met someone whose project ended up on this site and he didn’t know until the emails started pouring in. It wasn’t a project he felt was particularly worthy but apparently many people did and they had questions. I wonder how many negative comments he got about something he never even thought to submit?

  3. @Jake

    “I have piles of circuits that I’ve built,”

    In your head.

    “something that I’m not really ready to share yet, since as far as I can tell, no one else has done it.”

    So much for sharing, eh?

  4. @8051

    I probably have over 40 hours in to that project, there is no way in hell that I am posting a how-to on the internet for every random idiot to try!

    By “hacking” the tool, I also discovered how to activate all of the optional software, some software packages for that tool run more than $1000 each. So no, no one will reap the benefits of my research. I am happy to answer educated questions, but nothing more.

  5. @jake
    “I probably have over 40 hours in to that project, there is no way in hell that I am posting a how-to on the internet for every random idiot to try!”

    you just disqualified yourself from posting here, idiot.

  6. i’m almost done with my project. i finally got fire from rubbing two sticks together. then i got the forge warmed up to start processing the raw ore i dug up. hopefully, i’ll find the right kind of quartz too. yep, pretty soon i’ll have my autonomous quadrotor built.

  7. @jan

    I have no problem posting a simple, fun project that lots of people would like. I will not post a project like my Genisys hack because not only do I have an incredible amount of time in to it, but because it also has the potential to financially benefit (and illegitimately so) someone who knows how to do it. Also, think of what happens when you post a successful hack online that NO ONE ELSE has tried – 90% of the internet is populated by “random idiots”. These random idiots will duplicate the hack, and publish it on random idiot blogs as their own work.

    So no. Anything that I would potentially share would be something that any electrical hobbyist could easily figure out. Anything more will cost you!!

  8. I think there is more random idiots on the internet spouting off the same old stuff than there are unique ideas that could truly turn a profit

    Listen Jake, there is some new putz every week saying the exact same thing you are now

    oh and 40 hours? seriously? you think that is “an incredible amount of time”, 40 hours is nothing, most adults spend more than that a week at their jobs, 40 hours, phhft, that shit better be over the course of 2 days

  9. not one intelligent comment in the whole lot about using an arduino for any type of rocketry. i am glad for the arduino because it is simple, inexpensive and readily available. it is also popular so that when i get the time to try a project, i wont need a college degree to build it. so, come on and someone do something rocketry based with an arduino. i would give my eye teeth to find someone around where i live that would be interested in sending up a project. someone with the knowledge needed to build it. i am tired of buying ready made projects. i live in las vegas if anyone is interested in trying out a project.

  10. @Osgeld

    Yes, I work 40+ hours a week, so I know exactly how much 40 hours is worth to me. The 40 hours I spent was 2 hours here, 2 hours there, over the course of months, not to mention the time that it took to crack the root passwords just to get in to the damn thing (every revision of the software seems to have a different root password).

    Seriously, google it. Bing it. Whatever. OTC Genisys. No one else has done it, and therefore I will never publish it. It’s not in my best interest, nor in the best interest of OTC.

  11. @kevin mcguigan

    If you think an arduino is cheap, try sampling an MCU from microchip or atmel. Pay shipping, get 12 micros, and you’re set on brains for your next 12 projects for under 10 bucks.

  12. whatever jake, I have a magic unicorn that plays mp3’s too

    also get the arduino, and when your ready for other avr chips you already have a programmer (besides you can get an arduino work alike for 7 bucks)

  13. @osgeld


    I have various programmers that I’ve built with serial, parallel & USB interfaces, plus I have an AVR dragon and one of those Top2005 programmers (lol)… I see no need to buy a pre-built MCU board for much more than it’d cost me to build myself!

    I am not trying to slam you, I just get annoyed by lampreys that don’t want to learn by just doing it themselves. I get annoyed by lamers that don’t want to actually understand it, they just want you to tell them how to build it so they can get oohs and aahs from their friends who are deceived into thinking the person actually knows what they are doing. Does it not bother you when someone asks you a question about some project, and you realize that they haven’t even begun to try to do it themselves before asking?!??!?

  14. no cause I am not a wound up jackass who thinks just because I hold an opinion that everyone should bow to it

    people learn at different rates in different ways, I sometimes try to help, which is more than your
    I HATE YOU attitude, I wont release anything for the leaches (even though you are here absorbing other ideas yourself)

    GTFO troll

  15. @Osgeld

    Learn to english. You seem to have the “I HATE YOU” attitude, I just think that people should learn instead of leeching.

    I’m sorry that you disagree, but I speak from years of experience. I have no patience for lampreys anymore, they have no positive affect on an environment like this. You could compare their behavior to the kids who don’t do their homework, then come to you right before class starts and ask to see your homework so they can copy the answers.

    No way, man!!!!

  16. last resort of a weak mind, pick on the easy point, like my spelling clap clap here is a cookie

    I dont have a I hate you attitude, I am just simply repeating what you have stated multiple times in this 1 thread alone

    Sorry you think your some type of EE GOD, and that everyone should be as knowledgeable as you, If everyone has this same attitude there would be no hobby electronics (that what this site is about afterall)

    BTW good luck marketing your precious project, I just know that OEM is going to love a 3rd party mod that involves a root kit, and every mechanic in the country is going to know how to do it, I say that cause I know your too good to provide instructions, that would be leaching from your ever so invaluable knowledge, and we dont want people coping you outstanding brilliance


  17. Also, FYI, I started out as a hobbyist and quickly learned that the knowledgeable are easily annoyed by uneducated questions. Do your homework first, if you truly can not figure it out, then ask the questions that will help you do so. Don’t be a lamprey!!!

  18. blah blah blah whatever jake

    The only ones I see getting annoyed about people asking questions are the elitist wanna be gods like you

    who have still yet to prove they retain the knowledge to even put a fucking battery in correctly

    your all talk, no show, and the best you have is a pile of imaginary circuits, and a “hack” that you wont show anyone

  19. “I have no intent of marketing any product, your assumptions continue to surprise!”

    “because it also has the potential to financially benefit (and illegitimately so)”

    your so full of crap you cant even keep your lie straight

  20. @ Jake and Osgeld

    At least keep it civil. You two have both raised good points, but if you can’t keep it clean and calm, you need to take it somewhere else.

    ‘Nuff said.

  21. Let’s get back to slamming the project, eh? Can’t we all just get along?

    1) C&C – Cola
    2) C&C – Canadian Club
    3) D&C – Dilation and curettage

    I have learn to english!

    The Hack part is simple to see: “Feeling the need to create something *needlessly complicated* to short a battery across the ignitor of the chemical rocket motor I turned to my Arduino Mega.”

    Even if they wanted to build the squirrely-est Rube Goldberg Device to touch a match to a stick fuse, it would be a hack. What’s the big deal?

    Arduino was not made for rockets launches, so is this a hack? Is I use something innovatively that was not design for it, is that a hack? Is no the hack you like, so you call it stupid? IU like it.

  22. Jake and Osgeld had an awesome argument lol. All that aside though, I think using the Arduino to launch a rocket was a good idea. Sure you could spend time making your own MCU board Jake, but I think your forgetting that people want to do what is easiest. It is a widely used product now and it helps for people who want to get involved but may not know necessarily where to start. Seeing this article I could simply look at the source code and schematics and then begin a project of my own instead of building my own MCU board.

  23. Where would space exploration be if someone in control said; “screw pansy assed solid state, we going to use electron tubes”? Always dissing the arduino, sounds that nuts, INMO.

    A Hack-a-Day In Space By 2015 committee. No doubt there are capable hackers, but judging from the comments post to HaD over time, there are those I wouldn’t want on such a project, less give them a 5 year deadline.

  24. Given the computing power of the original moon missions, sputnic etc I think the only limitations are monetary!. As for Arduino, for me it was the launch pad to more advanced electronic engineering projects and can prove to be a great little ‘scratch pad’ for testing out the basic concepts before taking the project deeper. Everyone needs to start somewhere and the arduino has now lead me into ARM embedded dev and mechatronics so not all bad. Anything that spurs interest in our hobby arena from the average Joe is really welcome in my opinion!
    Im sure many people started with Lego/Meccano before becoming industrial engineers!

    Anyway, nice post! bet it was fun to see the first rocket go up and if anyone has an open source LEO collaboration going on drop me a mail! would be happy to put some time into it!

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