Black Bird: High Powered Model Rocket (2019)

This project was undertaken during Winter Internship 2019 at Avionics Lab, Space Technology and Rocketry (STAR), Surat, India

Project Mission:

To design and develop a High Powered Model Rocket. This Rocket shall reach a minimum height of 120 meters Propulsively and shall have a Recovery System to land on the ground safely.

A Team comprising 9 interns worked on different aspects of the Rocket, namely 2 interns worked on the Design, 2 interns worked on Avionics, 2 interns worked on Recovery System and 3 interns worked on Propulsion.

My Role:

  • Member of Avionics Team, I was responsible for the developing Avionics system onboard the rocket to trigger recovery system and collect data.
  • Designed General Circuit Board (GCB) based on the dimensions of the rocket, the board had a microcontroller, sensors and data storage devices. The build process included the following steps:
    • Roughly Planning the Positioning of various components on paper based on their proximity to the Microcontroller.
    • Designing the Circuit by Computer-Aid using Eagle software.
    • Realising the actual design on General Circuit Board by Soldering various components on the board and making required connections between the components.
    • Various tests were conducted on the GCB before the actual flight.

General Circuit Board (GCB)

  • Developed the software for the GCB.
    • The software was capable of Triggering the Recovery Mechanism based on pre-determined conditions using data from the Inertial Measurement Unit and Altitude Sensor.
    • The software also recorded data from various sensors and in-flight events.
  • Developed Rocket Launch Igniter including the hardware and software.
    • The Igniter provided the ability to remotely trigger the launch sequence to light the Rocket Motor.
    • The Igniter could be used with Bluetooth or Internet to trigger launch countdown and emergency abort of countdown in case of an anomaly.

General Circuit Board (GCB)

  • Developed Android Application to communicate with the Rocket Launch Igniter.
    • The application provided the ability to initiate the launch countdown and emergency abort the countdown in case of anomaly.
Start ScreenLaunch Pad Igniter
Bluetooth Selection MenuLaunch Sequence Starter
During Launch Sequence
  • Developed Static Launch Test Pad to help Propulsion Team test different motors.
    • Static Launch Pad used a load cell to measure the thrust and burn-time of the motor.
    • The data recorded was used by Propulsion Team to analyse different fuel compositions for the rocket motor.

Project Accomplishments:

  • 2 High Powered Model Rockets were successfully developed.
  • A Remote Launch Igniter and a Static Test Pad was also developed.
  • Many integrated tests were conducted of all the Systems:
    • Numerous ground tests were conducted for the main Rocket Avionics Board and Wireless Igniter.
    • 10+ Drop Tests were conducted for the main rocket avionics GCB.
    • 9 Static Tests were conducted and data collected was analysed to determine the composition of fuel for the motor.
    • 2 Rocket launches were conducted with all systems together.