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Rocket Ejection
656 9 2018-12-30
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adamvogel
lvl.1

United States
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I am working with a university rocket team (in USA) to carry a drone inside of a 6 inch diameter rocket to 9,000 ft AGL and then eject to land a golf ball on a target located 100 ft away from the launch site. Would I be able to program the Spark to be on without props spinning and after a set time, return to home without having a connection to the remote? I cannot seem to find a <6" drone as robust as the Spark, but if there is a different prebuilt drone capable of this, please let me know.
I decided to use the Spark because in previous years, spring loaded expanding joints inevitably rip apart upon ejection when subjected to exterior conditions. Therefore we believe it is necessary for our launch vehicle to be one solid frame.

Any advice is welcomed. Thank you.
2018-12-30
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ajmckay
lvl.3
Flight distance : 64682 ft
United States
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Sounds like a pretty awesome experiment.  My understanding is that the return to home function is based on gps.  Does gps work at that altitude?  Also the spark only has about a 15 minute battery life. I think the max descent speed is 6 or 7mph. So right there your ascent to 9k ft must be pretty quick.  I'm new here but surely someone else can chime in. I'm not aware of any feature for a delayed start.
2018-12-30
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Gunship9
Captain
United States
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Look at race drones and the various autopilots available for them.  The drones are frames with motors and esc's equiped.  You install the autopilot, video gear, and receiver/motor controller.  Those autopilots should be more programmable than the Spark.  Plus, the Spark spends a lot of its resources and $$ on its video and photo ability.  You won't need that and it would be a waste.

If the aftermarket autopilots aren't that programmable, insert a switch hooked to a GPS unit/altimeter that switches closed at a 1000 feet up and after ejection.  The closing switch then letting the autopilot communicate with the GPS and see where it is so it can head home.  Or, possibly just keep the autopilot fully GPS connected but disconnected from the motors until the right altitude to start flying and heading home.  


Fun times.



Spark return 5.gif
2018-12-30
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FulanitoFlyer
lvl.4
Chile
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Could you not use a parachute on the drone, until you're in range turn on the drone eject the parachute? Also you could just call Elon.
2018-12-31
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pianoplayer7
First Officer
Flight distance : 244239 ft
United States
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Would the Tello work? It allows for programmed functions and is slightly smaller than the Spark.
2018-12-31
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Tentoes
Captain
Flight distance : 1522900 ft
United States
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Cool project.

I think I'd build a racing drone and download the source for the flight controller so you can make the code it will need. Might need to free fall a ways then turn on, stabilize itself and head for the gps point. You probably want it small enough to fit inside the rocket during the boost phase.
2018-12-31
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FulanitoFlyer
lvl.4
Chile
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Tentoes Posted at 2018-12-31 13:28
Cool project.

I think I'd build a racing drone and download the source for the flight controller so you can make the code it will need. Might need to free fall a ways then turn on, stabilize itself and head for the gps point. You probably want it small enough to fit inside the rocket during the boost phase.

" free fall a ways then turn on" is why it will need a parachute, I doubt a spark would be able to pull out of its terminal velocity and unstable spin.
2019-1-9
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harrymichael
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India
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8-23 22:37
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harrymichael
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India
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8-23 22:38
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A J
Captain
Flight distance : 13674072 ft
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United Kingdom
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Very cool - thanks for sharing
8-24 04:04
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