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Rocket Avonics Class G


Artemis telemetry shield for Arduino Mega rendered via Eagle3D and POVray


Lunar Numbat is an Australian and New Zealand space technology project, which is using commodity open-source hardware and software to build components that can be utilized as part of larger missions, including the White Label Space Google Lunar X-Prize team. Several of the Lunar Numbat build team are members of the Connected Community HackerSpace, based in Melbourne.

The first step was a number of Class C rocket launches, including a small avionics and telemetry payload.

The next step is create a more sophisticated avionics, audio/video and telemetry payload that will be launched in a Class G rocket.

This project presents a number of challenges beyond what was attempted in the initial Class C launches …

  • Assembling a team of hardware and software engineers to design and build custom PCBs and associated firmware
  • More and different types of sensors, including pressure (altitude) and GPS
  • Incorporating audio / video
  • Storage of sensor telemetry, along with live transmission of sensor telemetry and audio/video signals
  • Anticipated altitude of 500 metres (1,500 feet), which is approximately 3 to 4 times higher than the Class C rocket
  • More sophisticated flight system software and post-flight data analysis
  • Using a rocket with an engine rating (G64-7W) that requires a controlled launch site and procedures


The hardware consists of an Arduino platform with a collection of sensors (listed below), data storage, telemetry to ground in real-time, audio / video transmission (no on-board storage) and power supply.

The software to be developed consists of:

  1. Flight system software, which captures, stores and transmits sensor data during flight, and
  2. Post-flight data analysis. To enable component re-use in subsequent projects, a modular software framework is being developed.

Device list ...

  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Flash data storage
  • GPS
  • Light sensors … roll-rate and parachute deploy sensor
  • Power bus monitoring … voltage and current
  • Pressure sensor (altitude)
  • Real-time clock
  • Temperature sensor
  • Zigbee module (telemetry)

More detailed project information can be found on the Lunar Numbat web-site.


Artemis software running talking to a prototype:

As of 2009-07-30

Under active development. Hardware prototype design complete, serial #1 PCB created (see below). Software design and implementation in-progress. Hardware and software specification complete (documentation needs to be consolidated). Launch date to be determined.


We are currently developing the PCB as an ArduinoMega shield, so that the prototype board can be created faster (avoid soldering surface-mount ATMega 1280 for the moment). The production PCB will be a custom board combining the processor and sensors.

Current issues under discussion

  • Appropriate power regulation, specifically to avoid distorting sensor reading
    • Providing separate regulation for 5V and 3.3V to individual A/D convertors
  • Interference between telemetry (ground communications) and video, both using 2.4 Ghz
    • Will test simultaneous telemetry and video communication using current technical choices
  • Serial communications design, if Arduino Software Serial isn't fast enough for GPS records at 5 Hz
    • Using an ArduinoMega, which uses an ATMega 1280 processor with 4 UARTs
  • Data storage device driver software
    • Data flash chip provided on a break-out board to the software developers


Some of the following links are broken.

  • General discussion thread regarding the Class G rocket.
  • Detailed note describing rocket instrumentation devices, (2009-06-01).
  • Detailed note describing initial PCB design choices, (2009-06-15).

Project resources

  • Hardware specification
    • Hardware design - parts manifest, PCB design and schematic
  • Software specification

Discussions and web page

  • Aiko - Arduino modular software framework
  • ARTEMIS (Arduino Rocket Telemetry and Instrumentation System) design …
    • Hardware design repository (GitHub)

Includes parts manifest, PCB design and schematic and PDF

  • Rocket instrumentation project (v0.2) (Luke Weston's June 15th blog entry)
  • Composite design and fabrication (Sam Sabey)
  • Flight computer development plans for this weekend's Hackerspace(May 23rd / 24th)
  • Detailed hardware list (Luke Weston's June 1st email)
  • Parts suppliers (local)
  • PCB design and manufacture

Australian Space organizations …

  • Lunar Numbat - Australian and New Zealand open-source space technology project
    • Task - Class G Rocket Launches
  • Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI)
  • Mars Society Australia (MSA)
  • National Space Society of Australia (NSSA)
  • Michael Borthwick's Aussie RocketCam web-site …
    • Construction details
    • Launch details and video
  • Altus Metrum - Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard's TeleMetrum rocket avionics open-source hardware and software project
  • Eastern and Mountain District Radio Club (EMDRC) - Probably know a bit about Software Defined Radio (SDR)
  • Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP) - Competition for privately funded space missions to put a rover on the moon<
  • Mad CATO model rocketry photographs
  • Model rockets (Wikipedia) - Introduction
  • Tripoli Australia - Rocketry association
    • Launch schedule for 2009
  • White Label Space - Google Lunar X-Prize team
project/member/dormant/rocket_avionics_class_g.txt · Last modified: 2015/04/16 20:22 by projectgus