LEEM-UPM Rocketry

LEEM-UPM is a rocketry team from the Aerospace Engineering School at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Over 100 passionate students form this organization where they face the challenges that rocket design and fabrication create. One of LEEM's proudest concepts is that every component and system, from rocket motor to avionics and aerostructure are designed and fabricated in-house. 

Our main project this year is the development of a rocket to participate in the 2024 EUROC, where teams are challenged to launch a rocket with a payload to a specific height. This European competition brings LEEM-UPM to a new rocket category where they have never been before. 

As a team engaged to manufacture everything in house electronics and therefore PCB's are present in every aspect of the project.

Of course the avionics of the rocket, divided in two main parts, the Power Management Unit (PMU) and Main Computing Unit (MCU) rely heavily on PCB's. 

The Main Computing Unit based on the Teensy 4.1 architecture is responsible for data acquisition and storage, guidance and telemetry transmission. This is made possible thanks to our sensor suite based on the Vectornav VN-100 IMU and the combination of the WSEN-ISDS IMU and WSEN-PADS pressure sensor providing an essential redundancy in the avionics. An ERINOME I GNSS module is also included to provide a fair reference for our data. Data storage is made on an SD card and a Flash memory creating a double storage solution. Finally a radio link with a ground station is provided by a SX1280 RF module so real time situational data can be provided. This board is also capable of camera management, actuator control and pyro channel activation for parachute deployment. 

The Power Management Unit manages the different Li-Ion batteries of the system switching from an umbilical external pack to internal power depending on the needs of the moment, distributing power to the different systems and most importantly providing a secure way of pyro channel activation.

But the Electronics department is also involved in the rocket motor manufacturing process providing sensors to gather data during out test fires. This system also based on the Teensy 4.1 gathers thrust data, chamber pressure, motor temperatures and environment conditions combining the capabilities of a load cell, pressure transducer and thermocouples. It is able to store data locally but also to send it to the remote control center with a RF data link. An ignition capability is also included to ensure a remote and safe motor ignition as everything is connected wirelessly. 

On the aerostructures side the Electronics department is working on a project to create a temperature controlled environment to cure carbon fiber based composite materials for different rocket parts. This includes a temperature control system to maintain the appropriate temperature.

The PCBWay support would enable us to overcome the different challenges a project like this creates. The ability to fastly iterate through designs and prototypes with the help provided by PCBWay would streamline the development process and solve one of our current biggest problems: the long lead times for PCB prototyping. More people could be introduced to the fascinating world of electronics and PCB design thanks to more dynamic and more abundant projects.

We see this collaboration with PCBWay as an exciting opportunity of achieving our goals and introducing people to electronics and the rocketry world.


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Apr 26,2024
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