Flight of the Pi

A project log for Raspberry Pi in the Sky

Jamming a Pi and a piCamera into a rocket payload for fun

Ben RockholdBen Rockhold 03/19/2018 at 22:010 Comments

On April 23 2016, I travelled with my club to Mansfield WA to shoot rockets.

The Pi-in-the-Sky travelled well, and somehow everything was still working when I reached the launch site. In a couple of tests (throwing the rocket around like a football) the Pi stayed intact and filming.

The launch event went well, with only a few rockets blowing themselves up. I've never built a rocket motor by hand before, so I was a bit worried mine would join the debris.

The motor fired for just over one second, putting the rocket on a 2000' trajectory. From really quick napkin math relating the 65º FOV to the length of road shown just before parachute ejection, this height can be verified.

The video gets a little spin-tastic after 10 seconds of ascent, as the camera ends up pointing at the horizon and the ground alternatingly. I wish I'd had a design for stabling descent. But it did capture the launch quite well. I was worried about stability, but the flight was very straight, and didn't tip over or spin from an asymmetric drag profile.