During flight the board computers continuously send data back to the ground through patch antennas. These data packets carry a lot of information that are crucial for mission operation. Not only does the live telemetry data allow us to have immediate feedback, but collecting GPS data upon descent will allow us to recover the rocket on the ground upon its landing. Telemetry data can also allow for highly valuable post-mortem analysis in case of a critical failure in any of the involved systems. We might even try and transmit live video from the payload bay!
In order to establish a radio link with the rocket a directional antenna is needed, that needs to point towards the rocket at all times. This project consists of building a rocket tracking mechanism on top of which the antenna can be mounted.
Additionally, if the precision of the tracker is high enough, one could also use it to get clear and highly valuable video footage during flight.
The goal of this group project would be to design and manufacture a rocket tracking system that would be suited for the previously mentioned tasks. While one student will be in charge of the mechanical implementation of a motorized, high-precision tripod, the other will be implementing different control algorithms, starting from manual and simulation based control, he shall also explore a fully automatic image processing based solution.
For this project, you will work in collaboration with the Ground Segment subsystem and can base your work upon previous work if you wish!