On 7 July 2018 our Maker Family (Vikas, Artash and Arushi) launched several model rockets at the Carr Astronomical Observatory (CAO) as a part of the Open House and Awards Picnic of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto.

These rockets were made by us a couple of weeks ago in a Rocket Making workshop organized at the same venue under the guidance of one of the Society volunteers: Tony Horvatin.

As we are interested in Space and Rockets, we wanted to get more out of these rockets. Inspired by how NASA sends rockets from the Kennedy Space Centre and collects telemetry data from their rockets – we wanted to do something similar.

So we brainstormed on some of the sensors we could add to our Model Rockets and data we could collect from them. We decided upon adding an accelerometer (to collect acceleration data along X, Y and Z-Axis) and a compass (to get readings on the direction the rocket is headed).

We also wanted to collect the maximum height our rocket would reach, thrust time, flight duration, decent rate, peak acceleration, mean acceleration, coast apogee and ejection apogee (height at which rocket nose cone pops out).  To do this we decided to add an advanced Altimeter (Jolly Logic Altimeter 2).

We got more ambitious. We wanted to collect some of the data “live” by adding a radio transmitter to the rocket. We are thankful to Kids Code Jeunesse for providing us with micro:bit for frequent training and demonstrations we do for kids as a part of our science outreach activities. We programmed these micro:bit to act as receivers and transmitters over the radio frequency.

IMG_1785
Micro:bit attached to our Model Rocket to transmit live acceleration data

We had previously experimented with transmitting data using these micro:bit and found that they had a radio communication range of around 100 meters along the line of sight. Our rockets would fly higher but these micro:bit should still be able to relay initial data for the launch and descent segments.

We also attached a keychain camera to the model rocket to get the first-person view of the launch and the flight path.

IMG_1776.JPG
Switching on Altimeter and Keychain Camera just before Rocket ignition

Our experiment was very successful. We were able to get 2 good videos from our rockets. In addition, we also obtained 3 minutes of Live data from our rocket which included acceleration and compass readings. The time interval between live readings was 0.08 seconds!

We were also able to collect the entire data set from our Altimeter.

Table 1: Altimeter Reading from our Rockets

Flight data

 

Table 2: Readings transmitted Live by the Micro:Bit attached to the Rocket

Z-AXIS
These are the accelerometer readings along the Z-Axis

 

Video 1: Rocket Flight captured by the keychain camera

 

Video 2: Rocket Flight captured by keychain camera

 

Video 3: Rocket Launch Video From Ground-Based Camera

 

IMG_1782 (1).JPG
Arushi putting the Ignition Key for the countdown towards Rocket Launch

Data Analysis

The maximum height our rockets could reach (when used with a B6-6 rating Motor) was 1234 feet (376 meters). And the highest flight time was 31 seconds. And the top speed was around 200 km/hour.

There may be errors in the data as we are still in the experimenting phase. As we launch more rockets and have more data we would be able to publish more accurate analysis.

We are still analysing the live data received from the micro:bit.

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