Over the last 2 years I have been building and launching all types of model rockets. My experience started when my good friend told me that circuit city (Radio Shack in Canada) started selling model rockets and engines. Up until that point I had played with model airplanes and helicopters but never with rockets.
I purchased a $25 kit which gave you parts to build any type of rocket shape you wanted. Naturally I choose to build the tallest one you could with the kit. Along with the rocket itself you also need three other things: A rocket engine with fuse, a remote detonator, and a launch pad. The engines are about $8 at the store for three. They come in different sizes and shapes and are marked by three values. I bought ones with the value: C6-5. The first number represents the motors total impulse range. The C is valued at 5 – 10 N·s. The second value is the motors average thrust. The more thrust the heavier of a rocket you can lift.Although a higher number does mean a larger payload, it also implies there is a shorter burn time in rockets of the same class. The last number simply indicates the delay in seconds before the recovery parachute gets deployed.
With my rocket built I was ready to launch my first rocket. It was a sunny day with little wind and to my suprize everything worked perfectly. The igniter lit the fuse the fuse lit the engine and the rocket was off in the sky. About 7 seconds later the parachute was deployed and the rocket was meters from my feet. My mouth was on the floor is amazement. Everything worked like clockwork. That first rocket was launched 11 times with a successful recovery until one windy day this June. The wind took the rocket into some backyards where I could never find it again.
I did not mind losing that rocket since I got so much use out of it. When I was launching my rockets I also noticed that I really enjoyed video taping these launches. At first it was purely to show off on Facebook although I dont know how many people really found it that “cool”. This was one of the very first launches taped with my old iPhone 3Gs. Sorry about the quality.
After a while I really wanted to see other angles of video of my rocket launches. I decided to put my iPhone 4 up and close to the fuse so that I could see what it looked like the second the fuse lit and the engine started. The result was really cool.
I then wanted to take it to the next level. I wanted to attach a camera to the body of the rocket so that I could get a real view of what it would be like to be inside that rocket. I knew this was going to be tricky since I had a mayor failed attempt at integrating an mbed prototyping board and an accelerometer with a 9V battery into my old rocket that I lost. I miscalculated the weight and the rocket made it 30 meters off the ground before it came crashing down and smashing in a in only puddle in the park. Whats worse is that the data didn’t even record :(. I knew this time this camera was going to be extremly light so that no more rocket crashes would occur.
Looking around on the internet I found a small keychain camera called an “888 Keychain Camera” which would record in fairly high AVI quality on a micro sd card. This was perfect and after looking around on ebay I managed to purchase one for $6 including shipping. (Crazyest deal I have ever found). This keychain camera was light and the quality was pretty good. After the month long wait for shipping from China it arived and I was ready to attach it to my rocket.
I know the tape job looks a bit weak, but I really did not want to and any extra weight to the rocket so 3 pieces is all it got. I put it in the middle of the rocket which turned out to work quite well. I was worried about the heat from the engine burning the camera but I did not want to put it at the very top which would make its flight that much harder.
The result was amazing. Have a look for yourself: