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.

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. :)



Daniel Veira said...

Hi George, the computer development souns good. I would like buy you a fligth computer for open the parachute because I am very tired about the tomy timer.

How much will cost the simplest computer? Will it got altimeter?

George Katz said...

Hi Daniel,

I'm not sure what the final pricing will be yet, mostly because I haven't decided how many will get made. Things get cheaper when I buy them in bulk. I can let you know closer to the date when they will be ready as to the final pricing.

The simple flight computer will not come with an altimeter.

Anonymous said...

hey george what do u mean with the Website Extension ?? i hope u not mean the close the main site :( but nice work on ur progress on the new flight computers :) i hope to see an launch of acceleron v soon
greetings from holland please reply me :D

George Katz said...

Hi Anonymous,

No, the main website will continue to expand as normal with the regular updates. The extension is just a side project. It's taking a bit of time to get it all ready, so I haven't had time to update the main site. Once it's up and running I'll be updating the main site more frequently again.

Anonymous said...

thats nice george ur website is so full of info about water rockets good luck with the rockets
greetings from holland :)

Sparthir Kiwiwarrior said...

I can't wait for pricing etc on FC. Would really be tempted to buy one.

CRASH said...


I notice all your spliced bottles are connected with tornado coupling. Would it be better to connect the bases of the bottles togeather as opposed to the necks? The rocket would be significantly shorter for the same capacity. Bunnings have 15mm lightweight brass plumbers fittings with locknuts. Butting bottles togeather at thebase is also a little stronger from my early experience.

CRASH said...

Hurry up recycling night!! I need more plastic bottles!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I know a glue called ACRIFIX, that is made for Plexiglas, but it seems very good on PET bottles, as it appear to penetrate and diffuse through the plastic and you can't tell where the glue ends and the plastic starts.
I didn't use it for water rockets, though, so no idea how it will fares under extreme pressure, but I'm sure is worth a try.

...and keep going!