[This is an update from the Ground Control Senior Design Team.]
Greetings from Castle Point Rocketry’s Ground Control team! The team consists of five team members: Martin Gilmartin (MechEng), John Hamill (MechEng), Ed Minnix (CySec), Nicholas Yarbrough (CompEng), and Charles Zwicker (CompEng).
We’re currently working on Revision 2.0 of the Ground Infrastructure Support and Control Systems in order to increase its capabilities, make it more reliable and redundant, and make its operations more logical and streamlined.
Here are some of the improvements we’re making.
Ground Control Station (GCS)
This is the main station that we will use to control the launch sequence, view our camera feeds and telemetry from the rocket (velocity, altitude, etc.), and manually actuate any valves in the event of emergency.
This subsystem will be an upgrade over last year’s setup. We are integrating the control and monitoring into a single unit as opposed to last year’s iteration which was handled by a separate laptop. The combination of these systems with a more powerful computer will lead to easier setup and transport. Furthermore, the new computer will run an enterprise-grade Linux distribution, providing further stability.
The GCS will be upgraded to redundantly store all of the data being streamed in realtime from the Ground Support Station and run for over eight hours on battery power, with a backup generator we can switch to without interruption. We will also waterproof the entire case and its connections so rain won’t hinder our progress.
We’re also constructing an antenna rotator in order to accurately track the rocket as it is airborne and achieve a more reliable signal.
Ground Support Station (GSS)
The GSS will roll all of the pre-launch hardware, which needs to be near the rocket, into one enclosure, streamlining it from its previous iteration. In addition, a large number of the GSS’s computational systems will be integrated directly into the GCS, reducing the hardware required at this location. We will upgrade the cameras and tripods in order to receive a higher quality video. This subsystem will also be battery powered for over eight hours.
We’re currently working with Nathan and Ben in the design and planning phase, ironing out the details before we pull the trigger and begin our first round of purchases. Our next steps include designing initial prototypes in CAD which we will then build and test followed by detailing the components of each system down to the minutia.