This blog covers the day to day progress of water rocket development by the Air Command Water Rockets team. It is also a facility for people to provide feedback and ask questions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A different perspective

We had a good flight day on Sunday at Doonside. Although the wind was fairly strong we managed to get 3 flights in.

The first flight was that of a modified rocket giving us a different perspective of the rocket. We were using the technique to investigate what happens inside the lowest bottle during flight. We mounted the camera on a long boom sticking out the side and looking back at the rocket and nozzle.

The full writeup with pictures and video of the flight is here:

I want to fly this one again, but actually remember to put the food colouring in it this time for better contrast enhancement. The fins also need to be painted a darker colour to work better with the camera's auto-iris.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lots of progress, little time to write about it

Here is a quick update as there has been lots of stuff happening in the background but have had little time to do proper write ups on the main website.

Flight Computers
Flight computers V1.7 and 2.0 are coming along well. We are developing two different ones at the same time with different capabilities. V1.7 is aimed at providing a very simple, inexpensive and small solution to parachute deployment. Focus is on least number of components in a lightweight package coupled with a single 3.7g servo and a small 6V battery.

V2.0 is a more advanced version offering expanded functionality over V1.6, with extension modules that are also suitable for pyro rockets. V2.0 also offers a much more flexible programing model capable of sequencing complex operations.

One of the main design criteria for these flight computers is that they can be fully configured in the field without any special external equipment like keypads, displays or a laptop. Both are now using surface mount devices for smaller footprints.

Website Extension
A lot of writeup time has been spent doing work on the website extension. This is mostly why there has been fewer updates on the main site. Currently the plan is to go live with the extension at the end of September. Some of the recent write ups will be available with the extension.

Rocket development
Acceleron V is currently resting until dad gets back from Europe. I've gone and given it a bit of a service clean such as the non-return valve that was showing signs of corrosion, and generally made sure that everything was in order. We need to take two cars full of equipment to the launch site and it takes both of us to set it up and launch it, so it will wait until he gets back.

The new rocket I want to fly this weekend (Sunday) is also close to ready. I'm using the Acceleron launcher, (without boosters) as it already has provisions for the 2 meter guide rail, as the rocket design does not allow us to use our regular launcher.

Other projects
I've also been helping out with prototyping work for a paid rocket project which I can't post about yet, but it has been quite interesting and something different. This has also taken up quite a bit of my time over the last two weeks.

On top of that I am finally working again on the new bigger workshop under the house. I'm hoping the electrician will be able to come in this week for a quote for all the wiring, and then we can put up the wall panels and then it should start looking like a real workshop. :)