Radio Controlled Starship Program

Trying to catch up to SpaceX's Starship program with my own radio controlled, electric version.

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I am making a fully functioning, radio controlled Starship that can take off vertically, skydive down, and land vertically. I'm using conventional RC servos, motors, and other equipment to make it happen on a small-scale model. To my knowledge, nobody else has done this before. It is a difficult engineering challenge, but that's what makes it fun.

I'm starting my Starship program the same way SpaceX did: with a Starhopper test platform. I learned many useful things from this exercise before I invest in real hardware for the Starship build:

With control via thrust vectoring (roughly) figured out, the next step is to translate what was learned on the Starshopper to a Starship. The Starship will hover nearly the same way, but with the addition of fore and aft lifting surfaces that enable control in the descending "parachute" mode. If that goes well, we may also need to build a Super Heavy booster to launch it with.

For flight control and stabilization on this project, I'm using my open-source flight controller that is Arduino-based and runs on the Teensy 4.0 with MPU6050 IMU: Project Page

  • 1 × Dollar Tree Foam 2-3 sheets
  • 1 × Hot Glue
  • 1 × Packing Tape
  • 1 × Brushless Motors 1000kv M2212/13
  • 1 × Brushless ESCs 12a BLHeli

View all 9 components

  • Starship Build Complete

    Nick Rehma day ago 0 comments

    Just finished up the hardware build on the Starship prototype. I had the CAD model pulled up to help cross-reference as the parts came together. Most everything went together nicely, I just need to make some minor changes to some of the printed parts for better tolerances/additional features. I still haven't figured out a plan for landing gear--it will most likely be passive, but for now I think I'll just grab it out of the air. Stay tuned for a build video and parts files!

    Now on to hover testing, then the maneuver never attempted before: the skydive.

    Avionics bulkhead:

  • 3D Printed Parts

    Nick Rehm11/15/2020 at 01:02 0 comments

    All the parts are off the printer and cleaned up. Just waiting on some carbon rods to arrive in the mail to complete the structure's assembly.

  • Starship Design Underway

    Nick Rehm11/09/2020 at 15:48 0 comments

    CAD design is finished--printing test parts now to verify tolerances, and parts are on order for the complete build.

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Building the Starhopper

    Cutting out and gluing together the internal structure from foamboard:

    Motors attached to 3D printed motor mount and hot glued to the structure. ESCs attached with double sided tape:

    Connecting the servo linkage for the control surfaces:

    Installing receiver and Teensy 4.0-based flight controller:

    Internals wrapped in cylindrical foam and landing legs glued on:

  • 2
    Building the StarShip

    Coming Soon!

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