Less Than 24 Hours Till Launch

Here’s another post with some details on the process of building a model rocket with an electronics package to do some telemetry and messaging via APRS, and LoRa, during a short rocket flight. Make sure to check out the Radio-Rocket Tag to find more posts, or check out the summary static pages on the project posted here. Some of the code is also finding it’s way to a github repo. I wrote a fairly detailed summary post as an intro to all of this, that you might want to check out as well.

Launch Day Tomorrow! (Weather Pending)

It’s finally time! The weather looks good, and all of the bits and bobs are in their ‘minimally viable’ state. That means it’s time to launch a rocket!

I’ve been calling this rocket the ‘Radio Rocket’ but it can really be thought of as V1. From a design and hardware perspective I used a rocket I already had and retrofitted it with the electronics. In the process of putting it together, I learned some things out of the gate, so from a hardware perspective, I’ve already started building version 2.

Tomorrows launch will be mostly to verify that the hardware works, the software works, etc. It won’t do all the things that I want it to do, but it will do these things:

  • Send telemetry via LoRa
  • Be capable of sending 2 way messaging via LoRa (although I don’t plan to test this feature during tomorrow’s launch)
  • Send APRS position packets. There is an i-gate in town, so you ‘might’ see it on APRS.fi sometime mid-afternoon tomorrow.
  • Most importantly - it will teach me a lot of things that I’ll need to know for version 2, which is already under way.

I also have a basic ‘ground station server’ together, made from a LePotato single board computer, LoRa Feather, & RTL-SDR dongle. This will serve to receive the LoRa and APRS data, and act as a node-red and TNC server so that I can connect to it with my laptop to view the LoRa and APRS data on a dashboard and map.

I’m going to get some pictures and videos, but I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to capture in the all the excitement :-) My daughter has agreed to be the videographer to capture the events, so we’ll see how it goes.

For now though, I’ve got to go and make sure my motors are assembled, batteries are charged, and parachute is fluffed.

Wish us luck!