Some Updates On The Servos

So we spent some of the session on Saturday playing around with the servos for Hummingbird, we  started by taken one of them apart so we could solder a new wire in there and get some feedback on the current position:

We have been soldering... Upgrading the servos to give us some position feedback.

We have been soldering… Upgrading the servos to give us some position feedback.

We then spend the rest of the day wiring up the two servos, one for the x-axis and one for the y-axis, creating a circuit and attaching it to the Arduino so we could control them independently:

Starting to wire up the servos, one for x-axis, one for y-axis. Now to program them to work with the 2-axis joystick (which will eventually be replaced by some gyroscopic sensor).

Starting to wire up the servos, one for x-axis, one for y-axis. Now to program them to work with the 2-axis joystick (which will eventually be replaced by some gyroscopic sensor).

As you can see, the servos are currently being controlled by a 2D joystick; this is just a concept idea, eventually that control will be replaced by a gyroscopic and magnetic sensor which will tell the servos which direction the motor needs to point to stay on course.

See them in action below:

Now we just need to order those gyroscopic and magnetic sensors!

We’ve Made Progress :)

So as you must know by now (have you read the project outline?) we’ve been given a specific class of motor we are allowed to use for this rocket. It’s all about altitude to win this one, so we need to design a rocket with that in mind.

At the last meeting we went over the basics of OpenRocket, and sent everyone back to work on some designs; so far we have a rudimentary outline of the rocket, which is far from complete:

Basic Design

Our first basic design.

We know it isn’t much at the moment, at least we know we are aiming for a minimum diameter rocket, but we have more pressing issues to worry about…

…we need to choose a motor!

You can see some of the thrust curves, which is a graph of the performance of a rocket motor (thrust vs. time), of some of the motors we have the choice of using below:

(Click the images to make them larger)

If you’re not 100% sure what they are showing. watch the animation below to get an idea of what they mean and represent:



Also, try heading over to NASA to get some more information about thrust curves and how they represent performance.

Before we decide on which motor is best, we need to get a better idea of what the total mass of the rocket will be and then we need to run some more simulations gain the greatest apogee. I won’t be long before we start order supplies, so keep an eye out for this sign on any university deliveries:


Speak to you soon!


If you think you have a good grasp of the concepts, and have an idea of which rocket motor would be best to use*, why don’t you drop us a message and we’ll let you know if you get it right!

Good luck guessing** 

*Hint: try thinking in terms of having a set, constant mass having to be launched by each motor (in reality the mass will be continuously changing).

**or logically/mathematically working out which one might be best for our situation… Max altitude, minimum diameter!

We Have Parts For A GPS Tracker!

After completing some initial designs and ordering some very important parts for the High Altitude Balloon, the electronics for the GPS tracker have arrived!

This will be used so we can track the balloon on the way up, and hopefully on it’s journey back down to earth (we really don’t want to lose it like James May did in his attempt to get an Action Man past Mach 1):

Our tracker doesn’t quite work the same way as that, but it’s funny nonetheless and gives you an idea of how some of these things work.

You can see some of the components of our GPS tracker below:

Some components for the simple high-altitude balloon tracker.

Some components for the simple high-altitude balloon tracker.

We’ll be assembling them, with all the fancy electronics, in a couple of weeks.

Wish us luck!

We Launched Our Model Rockets!

So we finally managed to launch our model rockets

We visited a park in the middle of Coventry and set up for launch. It wasn’t a particularly nice day, but it didn’t rain whilst we were there, which is a massive bonus!

We went through some safety aspects and then showed everyone how we were going to be launching the model rockets, then stood back as they were launched into space (about 150 meters into the air).

The day went great – there are some pictures of the launch over on Instagram (or scroll down this page). Also, don’t forget to check out the short video of the launch on our YouTube channel

The Rocket Motors Arrived!

So after the success of the Beginner’s Rocketry Workshop, we had to order the rocket motors; a grand total of 48 Estes A8-3 model rocket motors were ordered from Elite Models Online on Friday 17th October 2014 and due for delivery on the following Wednesday 22nd October 2014.

However, after 3 failed attempted deliveries by UKMail, they decided to send the model rocket motors back to Elite Models, only to have them re-sent back to UKMail who then managed to find the university. It’s here where we must stress that the delay in delivery was nothing to do with Elite Models, who were more than helpful, it was all down to UKMail – who failed to find the university 3 times!

We took the time to take some pictures of the rocket engines to show you all what they look like:


We also took some extra picturesque images for you:


We look forward to launching them, look out for more details about when and where!