C18003: Engine Controller for Methane-Oxygen Rocket
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Rochester Institute of Technology

Department of Computer Engineering

Senior Design Project—Spring 2018

Engine Controller for Methane-Oxygen Rocket

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Team Members

Mark Saunders, Lucas Jodon, Andrew Ramsey, Stephanie Soldavini

Project Description

The FAR-MARS Launch contest is a competition sponsored by the Mars Society and the Friends of Amateur Rocketry, the objective of which is for a student team to produce a bi-propellant liquid-fuelled rocket that can fly to 45,000 ft. The rocket that has been designed for this competition had a need for a system that can do data acquisition and valve control, both on the ground and in the air.

The objective of this project was to design an engine controller for a methane-oxygen fueled rocket that will fly to 45,000 ft. The engine controller is responsible for actuating all the valves on the rocket, in addition to reading sensors and providing this information back to the flight computer.

The engine controller system consists of two separate boards, each of which is capable of opening valves, reading sensors, and transmitting gathered data. The processor for each board is a microcontroller, which communicates with the outside world via RS-485, a differential uart protocol. GPIO pins on the microcontroller drive power transistors capable of turning the valves on and off. Power is supplied both via an onboard battery and an external umbilical connection.

Project Details