Electronics

For controlling the whole experiment and for communication with the measuring units as well as the rocket a board computer will be used. This board computer must be developed and implemented separately. In addition, a software must be programmed for this board computers. Besides the measured values of the experiment, the board computer must also process and store data from other influences, such as measure the G-values during the flight, on a disk.

Leiterplatte_Stromversorgung_v1

Circuit board of the power supply

For the electrical measurement of the experiment various electrical components are required. Therefore the team must design and manufacture the entire electrical installation by themself. To do this, the electrical components were estimated and calculated. The electronics for the experiment can be split into two separate circuits; the power supply for all consumers and the measurement electronics for the experiment. The power consumption of the individual consumer, as well as the accuracy of the measurements for the experiment must be considered. Because a microprocessor is used for the measurement of the experiment, a separate software must be programmed for this as well. This software must be capable of the voltages and currents which outputs the experiment to measure correctly and send them forward to the right communication interface for their storage.

 

A special condition in space or in high altitudes (close to zero gravity) is the fact that it has virtually no ambient air, which would dissipate the waste heat from the electronics. Therefore, it is a challenge to design the electronic circuits in a way that they do not overheat. Typically manufacturers of such electronic components do not design their components for such conditions. Therefore, an experimental setup had to be realized to thoroughly test the danger of overheating.

Leiterplatte_Steuerung_v1

Circuit board of the control unit

One major challenge is the volume of data. Many measurements are conducted by short time intervals which cause a large amount of data. This data must be processed, stored and sent to the ground via the telemetry of the rocket in a simplified form. Another challenge is the deployment of the electric scheme, or the design and layout of the electrical components on the motherboard. All circuits must function properly, as there will be only one missile launch. In addition, all connections must be easily accessible and the components may not cause any electric noise, because the measurements of the experiment could distort. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the fact that large temperature differences may occur. In addition, vibrations at 20 times gravitational acceleration occur during the rocket launch. Despite all these unpredictable conditions all components must remain in place and all connections have to stick together.