Tindie Blog | STARLIGHT MINI Model Rocket Flight Computer

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As a rocketeer, I’m always interested to see rocketry-related projects hitting Tindie stores. One of the many interesting and complex challenges with model, mid-power or high-power rocketry is how to capture flight data and how to deploy one or more parachutes or other recovery systems at specific points in the flight.

The new Starlight Mini Flight Computer has an RP2040 on board which certainly gives more than enough processing power for a flight computer. It also features a BMP388 pressure and temperature sensor, which are the two main bits of data you need to calculate altitude. Also on board is a LIS3DHTR accelerometer rated at +- 16g which should cover most rocket flights apart from the most hooligan of minimum diameter builds! Having an accelerometer on board means that this device is capable of launch detection so your rocket isn’t logging lots of extraneous data while sitting on the launch pad. Rounding out the hardware there is 16MB of flash storage on board and a single pyro channel output.

For those unfamiliar, pyro channels are programmable outputs designed to fire an e-match to light small charges held inside the rocket airframe. You can program the flight computer to fire this channel to hopefully split a section of the rocket and push out a recovery system at a specific altitude.

For those with some rocketry experience, it’s worth noting that the small size of the Starlight Mini Flight Computer means it may fit inside a 24mm diameter airframe. This makes us think that it could be interesting for high altitude minimum diameter attempts, possibly using plugged motors, using the pyro channel for apogee deployment. Of course, it could also be used in larger dual deploy rockets in combination with the motor delay ejection method. Finally, it could simply be used for simple logging of flight data.

The device is supplied assembled and requires a single LiPo cell for power. There are flight and programming modes and there is a mission control Java application which you can interact with and change settings on the device.

 

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