DARE designs and fabricates its own electronics packages for use in DARE rockets. These electronics package may range from fairly simple timer based designs for use in small rockets, to full flight computer designs for use in rockets like Stratos IV. One of the primary functions of the electronics in any rocket is the timely deployment of the recovery system. In a case a parachute needs to be deployed, it’s in most cases beneficial to deploy the parachute at apogee. For more complex rockets the electronics may also be tasked with igniting a second stage or recording data from accelerometers and GPS receivers. The record-setting Stratos II+ rocket also had a real time telemetry unit on board, relaying the position of the payload capsule for recovery.
The electronics team creates the electronics for all projects within DARE. Below are some of the systems the electronics team has designed.
The Electronics Team worked on the design and development of flight electronics and software for Project Aether.
The electronics stack that is located in the nose cone of the Aether rocket consists of layers of boards dedicated to their own tasks, containing the following elements:
Power Source: 3x 1250 mAh at 11.1V for video downlink and payload power supply, in total 12x 450 mAh at 7.4V for various other tasks, external power supply at 12V 3A while the rocket is in the tower.
Without the ground systems, the rocket contained two electronics modules: one in the motor and one in the capsule. Both modules communicate over an RS232 link and together handled the following:
To be able to include a reliable safety system in Stratos II+, the electronics team designed a flight termination system to be used over a range of more than 50km.
The system is designed to be able to terminate the flight in case of failures during launch. The flight can be terminated actively by pushing a button or in case of signal loss, the flight will be terminated automatically.
The electronics team contributed with the advanced control board which can control the canards of a rocket to keep it flying as close to vertical as possible, making the landing area closer to the launch site and increasing the maximum altitude.
Processor: 1x LPC4313.
Power Source: 2x LiPo 1800mAh at 7.4V for servos, 1x 300mAh at 7.4V for the board.
The CanSat electronics have been continuously refined and improved over the years. Based on DARE’s previous experiences, the choice was made to have 4 independent microcontrollers, two boards each controlling a door, and all with the authority to deploy the parachute. Each board also has its own power source, again for redundancy. With this approach, each board can function on its own after launch.
Processor: 3x LPC1313 for servos, 1x LPC1313 for main control unit, 1x ATmega168 for external interface.
Power Source: 3x LiPo 500mAh at 7.4V for servos, 1x LiPo 500mAh at 7.4V for main control unit.