Rocket Update

Radio Rocket Update


I wanted to do a quick update on the status of the Radio Rocket since it’s been a bit since I shared any info on it.

edit 2023-01-10: I just learned that a presentation on the radio rocket was accepted for the March QSO Today Virtual Expo so if this rocket project has been interesting to you, make sure to check that out! It will be a great opportunity to see a more wholistic overview of the project, and to ask questions also!

Physical Construction Status

  • The booster portion of the rocket, i.e. the part that holds the fire, is significantly complete - it just needs an engine retainer and paint.
  • The bay the holds the main electronics sled is built, and prepped, just needs paint.
  • The APRS electronics bay, which will essentially be inside the shoulder of the nosecone and extending down into the top body tube, needs to be built. All the parts are on hand, but I want to have the replacement APRS tracker on-hand first, so that I can verify final dimensions before I start cutting things.

Electronics Status

  • The ground station is complete and ready to go. I’ll certainly be making updates to the code, and some other design things down the road, but I have it at it’s ‘ready for test launch’ state.
  • Micro-controller, LoRa, & sensors on the main electronics sled have all been installed, bench tested and are ready to go for the test flights.
  • APRS tracker needs to be ordered, and then programmed. The one I had was damaged beyond repair when V1 crashed. Luckily that part worked fine, so I can reload the existing code into into the new one when it comes.

Next Steps

So with that quick summary, this is my current checklist of next steps for the radio rocket, roughly in order of what will come next:

  • Order replacement APRS tracker & battery
  • Load up the already-written code for the APRS tracker
  • Build the sled for the APRS tracker, fit it to the forward section of the rocket, and cut the airframe to length
  • Do the prep work for the forward section of the airframe (filling groves in the body tubes etc.)
  • Order and install a motor retainer
  • Order and install recovery (parachute’s) - the size of chute’s needed is weight dependant, so it will be easier to wait till the rocket is mostly finished and just weigh it.
  • Conduct several dry-runs
    • set everything up to run through all the steps up to, but excluding, actually launching the rocket
  • Order engines and launch supplies
  • Conduct electronics-free test launch
    • launch the rocket like a ‘normal’ model, with weights in place of the electronics, to test basic launching and flight expectations.
  • Paint Job!
    • This is when the rocket will get its final paint job and be officially ‘named’ so that I can stop calling it “Version 2”
  • Conduct first official “Radio Launch”