Design, construction and testing of a data transmission system for a mid-power rocket model
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This paper presents the continuation of a previous work in the development of a communication module for a solid propellant mid-power rocket model named "Simple-1" mission. It considered the design, construction, and testing procedures related to the data transmission protocol and its data rate. The current phase considers the antenna's optimization, launching, and data analysis on-flight. In the actual optimization step, the antenna components were modified to increase the gain. A rocket model Estes Ventris Series Pro II® was used to carry in the payload section a communication module with several sensors in a CanSat form factor. The collected data was processed using an Arduino Mini micro-controller and transmitted using a radio module (Radiometrix) to a software defined radio (SDR) HackRF-based platform on the ground station. The printed circuit boards (PCBs) were designed and manufactured from commercial off the shelf (COTS) and assembled in a cylindrical rack structure similar to this small format satellite concept. The Simple-1 was tested with the help of a wind tunnel to validate the behavior of the antenna's subsystem and was proved in several launches using solid propellant motors reaching altitudes from 500-700 meters. Different experimental data such as altitude, position, atmospheric pressure, and vehicle temperature were successfully captured and analyzed. This demonstrates that it is possible to develop low cost near space activities, gradually installing capabilities in a teamwork. In this developing stage, the techniques to design and manufacture two layers PCB were appropriated by traditional circuit board etching methods. In addition, the SDR technology was studied and implemented for the telemetry architecture. The use of surface mounting devices (SMD) offers an alternative to reduce the volume of the module. In the future, it is expected to have more advances in the stability of the communication protocols, robust hardware manufacturing, and integration of electronic circuits in four-layer PCB, in order to contribute to the access to space in our region and local aerospace industry developments. © 2017 IEEE.