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Launch your model rockets over LoRaWAN with this MKR WAN 1310-powered system

Arduino TeamJune 14th, 2023

Designing, constructing, and launching your own model rockets is a great hobby for learning more about the world of aerodynamics, computer simulations, and physics as a whole. But when it comes to actually lighting the solid rocket fuel to achieve ignition, the user normally lights a fire directly on a fuse or lays out a reel of wire to electronically burn the propellent, both of which are not ideal.

Milos Rasic of element14 Presents, in contrast, had the idea to create a remotely-operated launching system that would allow the user to simply flick a switch and press a button to achieve lift-off without the need for kilometers of wire. His ignition circuit relied on an Arduino MKR WAN 1310 to receive commands over LoRaWAN™ and the board, in turn, would begin charging a pair of supercapacitors via a series of MOSFETs, relays, and op-amps until they each reached about 8V. Once everything had been tested on a breadboard, Rasic soldered his components onto perfboard and arranged them inside a custom weatherproof case.

On the controller side, Rasic grabbed another MKR WAN 1310 and connected a 16×2 LCD display, a rotary encoder for making selections, and an array of switches and buttons for selecting when the system is charging, armed, and igniting the rocket. Better yet, the model rocket was also a custom design along with the launchpad.

To see this system in action, check out Rasic’s video below!