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SpaceX inspired edf rocket

A SpaceX inspired edf rocket with deployable landing gear, thrust vector control and a 6s 70mm 12 blade fan.

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In the beginning of this year I was really amazed by the fast and succesive achievements SpaceX made. So I decided I wanted to do a SpaceX related project. Being a SpaceX fan for a few year now, I decided to go for the Falcon 9 inspired look on my build. I'm referring to 'inspired' because i took some general proportion from the Falcon 9 rocket but had to make a lot of changes to get the "rocket" functional on the scale I was intending to build it. The "rocket" has a deployable landing gear, thrust vecrtor control unit and uses a 6s 70mm 12 blade fan capable of 2.5 kg of thrust. The thrust vector controll unit is being controlled by a Pixhawk X4 running Ardupilot V4.0.4 which is configured as a single copter. I'm essentially building a single copter in the shape of a rocket.

As mentioned above I decided to go for the Falcon 9 look but had to make some adjustments to turn this rocket into a functional one. The landing legs for example look very similar than the Falcon 9 booster landing legs but use a completely different way to deploy and retract them, simply because of the smaller scale i have to work with. I used standard 9g hobby servo's and designed a hinge mechanism to deploy and retract the legs, this means i had to make some cutouts in the body of the rocket in order for the legs to fold down nicely against the body of the rocket. All the legs are designed to lock in place once fully extended so there is no torque aplied to the servos when the landing gear is under load, the forces of the landing gear are in line with the shaft of the servos once they are fully extended. To control the speed of the landing legs and setup the max and min possitions for each leg I decided to create a small arduino based PCB which was manufactured by JLCPCB, the sponsor of this project.

The maiden flight can be seen here: 

I intend to use a 6s 70mm 12 blade 2300kv electric ducted fan as thrust unit. this ment I had to provide air inlets on top of the rocket, just beneath the nose/payload area of the rocket. The inside of the rocket needs to be as clean as possible in order for the air inside to flow uninterupted. So I decided to move all the signal and power cables, that run from the top of the rocket to the bottom, on the outside in a channel, this way there are no lose wires inside the body where the air needs to flow.

On the bottom side of the rocket there are 4 fins that will control the direction of the air that's comming from the edf unit. This in combination with the throttle control of the edf enables me to have 4 axis of control over the rocket. These 4 fins, the thrust vector control unit, will be controlled by a Pixhawk PX4 flight controller running ardupilot that will be configured as a single copter.

All the parts are designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, and are all printed with my Anet E12 and reprap prusa I3. I will release all the stl files and part lists once the project is fully completed because i sometimes have to make a lot of adjustments to certain parts of the rocket.

A build and demo video about the deployable landing legs and thrust vector control unit can be found here:

Gerber_Landing leg controller V1 PCB_2020-08-16_21-51-01.zip

Gerber file for the landing leg controller pcb

x-zip-compressed - 39.22 kB - 08/16/2020 at 19:51

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SpaceX_rocket_landing_gear_code_V4.ino

The arduino code for the landing leg controller (white pcb)

ino - 5.82 kB - 08/16/2020 at 19:47

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lucasrozanski05 wrote 09/25/2020 at 13:04 point

I like this project a lot. I have been following it from the start. But, what are you using for control of the thrust vectoring? I have found no information on that. Please elaborate.

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Brian Brocken wrote 09/25/2020 at 20:06 point

I'm using a pixhawk PX4 flight controller, I will be updating this page in the following days.

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Spacejake wrote 08/28/2020 at 02:58 point

this is awesome!! I’ve been working on legs and grid fins but both rely on a charge to bust the elastic band. Love this build!

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Brian Brocken wrote 09/03/2020 at 14:55 point

Haha thanks man, yes i also saw some yt videos where they used elastic bands and a glow wire to burn through it but you can only use this once per flight, I think the landing gear should be as reusable as the rocket itself ;-)

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