BPN857: Miniature Autonomous Rockets


Pico air vehicles (PAVs), sub-5cm aerial vehicles, are becoming more feasible due to advances in wireless mesh networks, millimeter-scale propulsion, battery technology, and MEMS control surfaces. Our goal is to develop an aerodynamic MEMS control surface that could be used in PAV applications. This device will use electrostatic inchworm motors (capable of outputting 15mN) to extend an airfoil through 10 degrees. Using information from previous work that demonstrated roll control, we expect to extend automated flight control to pitch and yaw. We predict and output torque of 2.3 uNm, generated by the actuator. In order to determine the aerodynamic performance of the device, we will integrate the control surface into a force-sensing platform and operate the device in 23 m/s of airflow. The actuated control surface is expected to generate between 0 and 20 mN of aerodynamic lift. In order to power this actuator on an untethered PAV, we designed a compact, LiPo battery- powered 90 V power supply PCB that fits in a 3.8 cm x 1.5 cm footprint. We also designed a 20-cm long rocket with onboard power, inertial guidance, and feedback control that we will use as a test platform for the MEMS control surfaces. Our long-term goal is to integrate the MEMS control surface, power supply PCB, and a single chip micromote into an autonomous millimeter-scale rocket for highly maneuverable short-range automated flight control.

Project ended 08/24/2022

Publication date: 
March 3, 2022
Publication type: 
BSAC Project Materials (Final/Archive)
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