Michael Wrona's Blog

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Rocket Flight Data Computer - Introduction & Requirements Definition

Posted at — Feb 13, 2022

I have been interested in model rocketry for a long time. Putting the time and energy into designing and building a model rocket, watching it leave the launch pad in a plume of smoke, and fly into the sky is very exciting and rewarding. The model rocketry community is a very passionate and supportive group, too. I have wanted to dive into the world of model rocketry for a long time and have finally decided to pursue it. In this post, I’d like to introduce my ideas for designing and building a model rocket flight data computer.

MicWro Engineering is developing a model rocket Flight Data Unit (FDU) to log in-flight performance data and give further insight into a rocket’s flight.

Functional Requirements

Sensor Requirements

Accelerometer Requirements

Gyro Requirements

Compass (Magnetometer) Requirements

Altimeter (Barometric Pressure Sensor) Requirements

GPS Requirements

These are high-level requirements that will be refined as development progresses.

Design Timeline

Here is an approximate flow of events that this project will follow:

  1. Define project requirements
  2. Select electronics
  3. Design electrical schematic
  4. Design PCB
  5. Design sensor fusion algorithms
  6. Develop software
  7. Ground testing
  8. Design a rocket
  9. First flight test!

Ideas for Future Iterations

These features would be nice to have and are good features for future iterations: