Off-grid Electronics? An Arduino Rocket Controller

Today I will begin to show one of my many electronics projects.
A rocket which can read gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS inputs and correct accordingly.
At this time I am using an Arduino processor. I may switch to Raspberry Pi Pico if the Arduino is too slow.

But first. Yes I am familiar with electronics and computer controls. I worked on advanced weapons systems in the military directing gun and missile fire. And I have a degree in electronic and computer engineering.
Hermits aren’t born that way. We grow into it.
So I spend long winter nights, and various times in other seasons, doing some experiments with technology of various types.
So on to one of my current projects.

In this I am using an Arduino Nano, or maybe Uno, single board computer to take inputs from a GPS module, a Gyro/Accelerometer module and maybe several other components.
The Arduino will be programmed to use that information to control micro servo motors attached to the fins of a model rocket. The rocket I am using is a 3/7 scale replica of an AMRAAM AIM-120 missile.
No, I didn’t work on the AIM-120 while in the service. It is just an easy design to build.
My rocket has a 3 inch diameter when the AIM-120 is 7 inches. Mine is 5 feet long.
This is a full-size AIM-120 mounted on an F-16.

This is the current state of my rocket.
The tube on the right is for experiment with the servos.

I printed the servo bracket with a 3D printer.

Here is the bracket being printed.

The servos are SG-90 Micro Servos. They can connect directly to the Arduino..

This is the rocket motor I will use for testing. It is a G74-9W. It will lift the rocket but not very high. I will develop my own motor later.

And here is the current state of the fire control electronics.


Or I may replace the Arduino Nano with an Arduino Uno or Mega2560. The Uno has more hardware serial connections which are faster than software serial ports on the Nano. The Mega2560 would be the best but is larger.

And if that isn’t enough speed I will switch to Raspberry Pi Pico or Pi 4. But that requires a completely different type of programming.
At this point I am using the Arduino IDE for programming. It is a simple form of the C/C++ language. The Arduino IDE is also capable of programming Raspbery Pi Pico. Or I will most likely just use regular C++ with Visual Studio Code. It is looking like I will switch to RP2040 Pico.

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To design the 3D printed parts I use FreeCAD on Linux.
And for the rocket design I used OpenRocket for Linux.

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More updates to come. I plan on showing the program I am writing if it doesn’t get too boring.

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