Red One control board by RedPropulsion

Red Propulsion:

We are a new project from the "Università degli Studi di Firenze" seguito da un gruppo di ingegneri.

The project consists of building experimental sounding rockets that will be used to test a wide range of skills, and ultimately participate in the European Rocketry Challenge, which takes place every year in Portugal in October. This international competition involves multiple teams from universities throughout Europe and is a place for exchanging ideas and networking, both for students and sponsors.

We are part of the electronics team and we are developing a control board that will monitor the various stages of the flight and release the parachute at the appropriate moment.

The situation as of today:

Today the team consists of exactly 50 members divided into 12 departments, and thanks to excellent leadership that has aligned the work of all teams, as well as the competence that everyone has demonstrated in recent months, the team has designed its first two rockets ("Red Goblin" and "Red One") aimed at obtaining HPR (High Power Rocket) level 1 and 2 certifications issued by the Tripoli Rocketry Association, which will allow us to purchase motors of a certain power. The launch of both rockets will take place in early April 2023 at the Aviosuperficie di Molinella (BO) during the MARS 2023 event organized by ACME.

Following these launches, the design of a third model ("Red Aster"), our flagship launcher to participate in the "European Rocketry Challenge" (EUROC) in 2023, will be completed.

Rockets in this discipline consist of several components:

Motor block: the propulsive part that provides the necessary thrust to take off. The motors are carefully chosen based on the needs of the space vehicle and are purchased online from the two most famous international manufacturers, "Aerotech" or "Cesaroni";

Flight computer: the set of all hardware and software components that are used to monitor the vehicle during flight through a set of sensors (accelerometer, barometer, pitot tubes, altimeter, etc.) and process the information with electronic boards, and then send an electrical signal to the actuators (recovery part) that are responsible for deploying the parachute;

Recovery system: the most important system of the launcher, as it allows the rocket to land safely after the ascent. It consists of one or two parachutes (depending on the model), shock cords, and a system of actuators that, when triggered by the electronics, deploy the parachute and safely land the rocket. The Red Goblin relies on a basic ejection system, while the Red One relies on a system based on CO2 canisters (more complex but more effective);

Aerodynamic components: consisting of the tip or "nose cone" and the fins at the bottom of the rocket. These, if properly sized, serve to stabilize the rocket during flight through a moment given by the resultant of the aerodynamic forces, applied at the center of pressure, around the center of gravity.

The electronics:

The board incorporates many different inertial sensors to measure the rocket's acceleration and attitude in real time. The software runs on a stm32 mcu. The pressure sensor mounted on board reports the current speed and altitude in order to determine the apogee reached, this measurement allows us to alter the flight trajectory and reach a specific height. A servo motor installed in the upper part of the rocket releases the parachute ensuring a safe and controlled descent.

We decided to realize this custom board because we needed a specific solution to fit our specifications. In particular our specs determined a specific imu and a peculiar form factor.

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Mar 21,2023
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