Sunday, January 5, 2014

Leveraging RC electronics for active vertical stabilization

I just found this on Rocketry Forum and this budding rocket scientist, Alyssa Stenberg, has become my new heroine!

At some point in the last decade I'm certain I read that active guidance was disallowed for hobby/high-power rocketry.  I cannot find that/those rule(s) now, at least for Tripoli, so perhaps the prohibition has been lifted?  I just skimmed my Tripoli rules from 2001 and could only find in the Prohibited Activities section: "The use of a high power rocket or high power rocket motor as a weapon against a target."
     In any event I've never understood why the rule [I thought I read] seemed to categorically disallow active guidance.  I realize such steering could be used by malefactors for bad things but Alyssa's 2D active guidance is clearly intended to improve the safety of the flight. I hope her work and excellent presentation open the door to additional research to actively maintain flight perpendicular to Earth. Bonus: This Guardian controller from Eagle Tree Systems is only $75. One needs to buy a slew of other hardware and electronics to enable such a system but that seems cheap for such a controller.
     After watching Alyssa's presentation several things occurred to me:
  1. When set to 3D mode and using one servo per fin one could also actively counter roll in addition to pitch and yaw.
  2. It might prove worthwhile to enable some sort of inhibition system to prevent post-apogee servo thrash unless...
  3. Leaving it active could reduce drift by actively steering the rocket against the wind under parachute.  I think one might need to invert the servo responses post-apogee, however, depending on the fin/gimbal/recovery configuration.
Rawkit syence is good eats!  

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