The Avionics sub-system is responsible for completing four major projects that are necessary for the rocket’s stable flight and recovery. Those projects are:
- The Avionics Bay that hosts the flight computer
- The GPS Bay, capable of tracking the rocket’s position
- The Ignition Box, which fires the rocket’s motor to initiate the flight
- The Ground Station, that controls the aforementioned systems
The Avionics Bay houses the flight computer, a PCB board placed inside the rocket. The flight computer uses an STM32 microcontroller to collect data from various sensors regarding the velocity, altitude and acceleration of the rocket and stores them in an SD Card and flash memory. In order to adjust the sensors to the team’s needs, custom libraries were developed. When the flight computer detects that apogee has been reached, it sends the proper signal and the drogue parachute opens, while the main parachute is being released later, at a predetermined altitude. The flight computer is designed, manufactured and programmed by the sub-system’s members.
The GPS Bay is placed inside the nosecone and its purpose is to keep track of the rocket’s position. The coordinates are being sent to the Ground Station using LoRa modules, so that the team is able to find the rocket’s location and recover it, after it lands.
The Ignition Box is located near the rocket’s launch pad and is used as a communication channel between the Ground Station and the rocket. When the launch command is sent by the Ground Station, the Ignition Box fires the propellant inside the rocket’s motor and the flight begins. The team has designed and manufactured the Ignition Box in such a way that a false fire up of the rocket is avoided and maximum safety is served.
The Ground Station is the main Control Center of the rocket’s flight. It can be easily and safely operated by the team’s members at a secure distance from the launch pad. The Ground Station is responsible for sending the launch command to the Ignition Box and receiving the rocket’s exact location when landed.
The Avionics sub-system strives every day to develop, advance and optimize even further the electronic systems inside the rocket. This year’s main goal is to develop a telemetry system that will enable live representation and recording of the flight’s data. This way, not only the team will be informed about the rocket’s condition at any time during the flight, but also we will be able to assure that the data is retrieved in case the rocket’s data saving system is damaged during flight.