The aim of this project is to successfully launch and receive data from a dart rocket set to reach an altitude of 50 km. After being launched, the object itself is driven only by inertia, having no form of electronic control. Its payload consists of a camera that will capture 360-degree panoramic images and it is bound to record the evolution of the rocket for the entire mission. In addition to the camera, sensors have been integrated to record environmental data, such as radiation level, pressure, temperature, acceleration and magnetic field variations.

To facilitate its retrieval, the SEGETUZA dart uses two GPS devices which are part of the payload. One of them is a stand-alone picoAPRS radio modem upgraded with a space rated GPS receiver. The second unit is a commercial grade receiver directly integrated with a mobile network data modem used for periodically transmitting position information and payload data via GPRS.

Notably, SEGETUZA must be able to automatically deploy its own parachute, in order to make the retrieval possible. Thus, the core software uses data gathered from the accelerometer, GPS and pressure sensors so that it can determine the key moment to deploy the parachute, by sensing the sudden altitude drop or certain thresholds regarding the altitude.

Available documentation:
Segetuza User Manual v0.1

Launch information:

  • Launch date: December 4th, 2019.
  • Launch site: Capul Midia, Constanta.
  • Launch direction: East. Recovery was not expected.
  • Additional payload: Vaisala radiosonde RS41 (403.92MHz).

The launch of the rocket took place on Wednesday, December 4th at noon. Telemetry from the RS-41 radiosonde was confirmed prior to launch, but the APRS receiver could not be confirmed. Despite this, a decision to launch was taken and the rocket took off as expected. Immediately after launch the telemetry signal was not decoded anymore, probably correlated with the high acceleration off-pad and the high velocity reported by the GPS on-board. The reception of the undecoded signal was confirmed for 1 minute after launch, which is the minimum estimated time of flight. Data from the launch campaign will be analysed to improve the design and as a valuable foundation for lessons learned for future projects.