Guided Missile vs. Model Rocket

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NPennGifted

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I've been considering doing a project involving launching small robots as payloads in high-power model rockets. Has anyone done anything like this before? My original thoughts had the robots doing nothing during flight but actually
it could be used for guidance - gyroscopic flight control? The only problem with doing this is if it crosses the line into becoming a guided missile... in this day and age, I'd prefer not to get near that line. My plans had the robots being released at the apex of the flight, then having to coordinate themselves as they land and meet to accomplish some goal(s). I'm in desperate need of resources... Thanks.
 

gothique_97

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Every once in a while, you hear or read about a "sun-seeker" rocket; a rocket that steers itself right at the sun. The large majority of these are never seen again because everyone watching the flight goes blind staring at the sun. The rest of the day sees everyone blindly stumbling around the rocket field, bumping into launch pads, cars, and eventually the tree line.

Ha ha ha, I'm just kidding; they never make it to the tree line before they trip over the launch wires.

Your robot idea sounds cool. Perhaps they might record meteorological data from aloft. Information on the adiabatic curve comes in handy during the winter months. Or maybe build hang gliders for them to steer their own descent. There's all kinds of room to do something cool with robotics and rocketry.

If it were my project, they'd be two [or more] BattleBots that I'd pit against each other as they descend back to Earth. The winner would be the one still under its parachute.
 

NPennGifted

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Battlebots, eh? Not a bad idea, though it would get expensive awfully fast. I'm just a junior in high school; no time for battlebots (yet). I've also considered doing something with a robot that can launch a very small rocket as some type of transponder or beacon... There's just something about rockets and robots that says "mix" :)
 

gothique_97

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There was a bunch of high school teams that competed last month in the BattleBots tournament in SF [which will start airing on Comedy Central next month]. I've even seen kids as young as 15 enter robots that got some TV time!

How about a robot in a rocket that mechanically deploys a parachute...
 

NPennGifted

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It seems that the weight losses from making a mechanical shoot deployer robot would offset any gains, but I may be wrong. I like mobile robots more.
 

srogers

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There have actually been presentations about this at NARCON 2000 and 2001. Using an R/C airplane autopilot to get a straight flight out of an already stable rocket (instead of having it turn into the wind). Gymballed motor was used to control the flight. There is nothing wrong with making a "guided missile". The issue is not what guides the rocket, but what you actually shoot it at. Launching a rocket not in accord with the safety code (at persons or buildings, for example) would be a problem regardless of whether its guided. Launching a guided rocket in accord with the safety code isn't a problem.
 
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