This project does not exist at the moment so its being built from the ground up. So here is the idea:
What I want to do is come up with an electronic gizmo that controls a parachute to return the descending vehicle to the launch point. The idea is that:
- 1: The rocket is placed on the launch pad.
2: The GPS Sytem takes a reading and works out where it is.
3: The Rocket leaps into space.
4: The parachute and device deploys.
5: The system reads the then current GPS Co-ordinates and works out a course to get back to the initial point.
6: The system uses a sail winch servo to pull two of the parachute shroud lines to "steer" the parachute on to the required course.
7: Repeats steps 5 and 6 until the assembly touches down.
8: Reduce the amount of walking that I have to do as, I have unfortunately developed arthritis in one knee and a foot.
In preparation for this I have already built the parachute. Its just a boring hemispherical chute with some interesting cut outs at the rear of the chute.
These cutouts provide a reasonable amount of forward movement in the chute. This one has a 3:1 sink rate for the target vehicle and should move forward at around 5kmh on a still day.
If the winch servo covers the outer vents it should allow the chute and attached rocket to do a 360 degree turn in a 50 metre radius while sinking around 80 metres (Reasonable figures but need to be tested).
There are actually two reasons for wanting to do this. One is that it reduces the amount of walking that I do recovering a rocket, but the main one is that, I want to steer the rocket to a position 75 metres above ground and 25 metres downwind of the target touchdown site. At 75 Metres I want the parachute to turn the assembly into the wind with no further deviations in course. This should cause the vertical descent rate to slow, and the horizontal speed to be as low as possible (taking into account wind speeds on the day)
What this means is that the assembly will hit the ground at the lowest possible vertical and horizontal speed and cause the least amount of damage to the vehicle and whatever happens to be at the touchdown point.
Now, here is the problem. In effect, it is a guidance system on a model rocket but on the descent (unpowered) stage not the ascent which is contrary to a lot of guided systems suggested.
At the moment, my idea on going forward is to launch a vehicle with the new chute with a steering port covered and make sure that it comes down in a circular fashion with a forward airspeed and go onto stage 2 from there (Simple RC control).
What are your thoughts on this and would it be something that you would be interested in?