Model Rocket Radio Telemetry


[Ken] sent us his Instructable in which he used radio telemetry to monitor the status of his air-powered model rocket through a series of launches. His setup is centered around an Arduino IDE-compatible board that looks to be about the size of a Boarduino, but has the benefit of an embedded 915 MHz radio module. The vendor he used also sells a good handful of add-on modules which he used for his in-flight recording, including a barometric pressure monitor and a 3-axis accelerometer. During flight, the rocket constantly sends data to a base station, provided it stays within radio operating range.

For is initial tests, [Ken] launched his rocket four times, getting usable data on half of them. He found out some interesting things about his model rocket, including the fact that it creates a maximum launch force of 60 Gs. He has plans to revise his setup in the future, such as lightening the battery load as well as adding a high-G analog sensor for recording the forces at take off. This kit, or a more reasonably priced clone, would make for a great addition to any rocket buff’s inventory.

8 thoughts on “Model Rocket Radio Telemetry

  1. ‘g’ is an acceleration, not a force.

    It’s expressed as a lower case ‘g’ because upper case ‘G’ is the universal gravitational constant (as in F=GMm/r^2).

    Sorry to be awkward, generally I detest nit-picking, but I thought you may appreciate the correction as it’s quite fundamentally different.

  2. So I am assuming this is measuring Above Sea Level “ASL” and not Above Ground Level “AGL”. As the barometric pressure of the launch site is not being taken into consideration.

  3. Pretty cool. Doesn’t the recovery vehicle generate a metric sh*t-ton of electrostatic charge by friction though? I’d isolate the uC and peripherals and ensure that the exterior were able to conduct to ground on impact, and the electronics were unable to become a ground path. Just to be sure…. CMOS being all sensitive and everything.

    @hexmonkey “Would a stripped-down Chronos watch work for this?”

    Yeah there’s an idea. If I had rocket parts around, I’d go outside and test it right now. I’d bet it would work pretty well. That transceiver gets pretty good range with clear line-of-sight.

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