ULYSSE : Rocketry Flight Recorder



ULYSSE is a project led by three future engineers from IPSA (Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Avancées) a French “Grande Ecole” specialized in aerospace engineering. More precisely, the project is backed by AeroIpsa, a rocketry association within the school we are members of.


The Team



For the last 25 years, AeroIpsa had designed, built and launched sounding rockets into the French airspace. Each year, members propose new projects and gather in teams to build it from scratch, From the CAD models all the way to the composite manufacturing, electronics soldering and programming.


At the end of the year, the association takes part of the C’Space event, in partnership with the French space agency (CNES) to launch their rocket in a safe environment. During a week, teams from all around the world gathers in the South of France to finalize and qualify their rocket for launch.


For more information about AeroIpsa and its projects, do not hesitate to visit our website www.aeroipsa.com (in French but with nice pictures)


The Project


To understand why, we first need to understand the environmental constraints of the C’Space event. First, the rocket launch site is held in a military test range covered by bushes and trees. Such amount of vegetation makes it very hard to identify any remains of a rocket once it returned to the ground.


Second, once a rocket is airborne, there are two options : either the rocket deploy their parachutes and return safely to ground (nominal flight) or for some reason the parachute does not go off as planned and the rocket is now a ballistic projectile which will hit the surface of the Earth very hard (ballistic flight).


Those constraints make it very hard for the teams to retrieve their rocket, and consequently the results of their main experiment, since most of these rockets do not include any telemetry system.


ULYSSE is our response to tackle this issue. In order to give the teams the ability to retrieve their rocket, we designed a small (3cm high), strong and independent electronic module, able to survive an 800 meters ballistic crash and provide essential data to the ground crew such as inertial measurements and GPS coordinates.


The module will feature:


·       GPS antenna

·       9-DOF IMU

·       Barometer

·       Temperature sensor

·       SD card

·       868MHz LoRa telemetry

·       And more …


The idea for this module is to be “rolled” around the rocket engine, between two fixed rings and reused after each flight on any other rocket using the standard Cesaroni Pro-24 solid rocket booster.


In order to build a reliable product, the PCB has been designed to use the latest Rigid-Flex PCB technology.


Rigid-Flex PCB Design

Mechanical Drawings




We’d like partnership with PCBWay in order to obtain their expertise on the PCB manufacturing technology and make this partnership long lasting for the AeroIpsa association and its projects.

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Oct 20,2020
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