Up & away & back again - hard!

Bill Gates once said, "It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure". Yesterday's launch wasn't the complete success I had hoped but was fun, we got some great data and learned a thing or two for subsequent launches.

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The rocket flew well, up until the point where the added weight of the payload tore the strings from the parachute as it deployed. Amazingly both it and the electronics package survived the fall back to earth. Helped, no doubt, by landing among some weeds. The system worked and transmitted data throughout the entire flight with three interesting anomalies.
  1. The GPS lost fix or somehow its data acquisition thread malfunctioned and it reported the same coordinates throughout the entire flight and in the excitement of things we didn't notice that the numbers being sent back were the same. Too bad because we can't really estimate how high the rocket flew.
  2. The light sensor pegged at the upper limit of the ADC input so we got no rotation data. I didn't think to check its output in full sunlight. Next time, a filter, perhaps something like a piece of tape, should fix this problem.
  3. Two times data was lost while recording to the Micro-SD card. This is a mystery and will take some digging to figure out.
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The 3D printed base was also cracked and will have to be slightly redesigned and reprinted.

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The most interesting data came from the accelerometer. The different phases of the flight were clearly visible and the launch impulse matched the engine's spec very well.

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The temperature sensor worked as well and reported a similar temperature for the entire flight. I suspect the rocket did not fly high enough to see any real temperature gradients.

We will fly again another day but first a little work: larger and stronger parachute, new 3D base and a bit more firmware debug.

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