Cygnus-X1, an open source board for home rocket control

I thinke many of us dream as children of having one day the privilege of being able to have or fly a homemade rocket or a mini ship designed to fly and above all to have a command which could give us the freedom to direct it at will.

Today, as such, that dream has already been fulfilled by many Well, there are some commercial models that you can buy or also in the case of drones, something similar to what we would have wanted as children.

However let's be honest, many of us would have loved to design the device with our hands and above all the power to learn how to assemble it and how each part works.

And good today I come to share information I found on the net about something similar to what I describe and that is the Cygnus-X1 project develops an open source board for jet engine thrust vector control and related on-board systems.

Enthusiasts They can use the plate to stabilize the flight of homemade rockets and above all and the most important thing about this project is that the project developments are distributed under the GPLv3 license.

With which we can find a large number of available diagrams, PCB design and specifications for the EasyEDA (Electronic Design Automation) simulator.

Another feature that stands out of the project is that the board is fully compatible with the Arduino IDE and Platformio development environments.

In addition to the fact that the software components are written in C ++ and as a base, the SAMD51 microcontroller is used, which It operates at a frequency of 120 MHz and has 1 MB of built-in Flash memory.

An external Flash or SD card can be used to record telemetry during flight. Data and commands are transmitted via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which allows you to use a normal smartphone for control.

Three channels of servo control are provided: two for the movement of the nozzle when the thrust vector changes and one for other systems, for example, to activate the deployment of the parachute. There are also two pyrochannels for ignition and glow plugs and an electric motor control channel to change the coil by means of a gyro.

2S or 3S LiPo batteries can be used as power source. Among the sensors used are a combined accelerometer-gyro (IMU BOSCH BMI088) and an altimeter (MS560702). UART and I2C connectors are available to connect additional sensors like a GPS module.

Of the characteristics that stand out of the project, the following are mentioned:

  • Based on the SAMD51 microcontroller operating at 120 MHz with 1 MB of flash. (ATSAMD51J20A-MUT).
  • Controllable by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), this allows data to be sent and received between the rocket and a smartphone.
  • 3 Servo Channels (Two of the channels are used for thrust vectoring and one for other things like a mechanical parachute ejection system).
  • 2 Pyro Channels capable of igniting motor ignitors and nichrome wire. Fully PWM controllable for variable current control.
  • 1 x DC motor controller for those times when you need sway control with a reaction wheel.
  • It works with LIPO 2S and 3S batteries. 3S preferable (11,1V)
  • It includes an arming terminal to prevent failures in the pyrotechnic channels.
  • Six-axis IMU (BOSCH BMI088) and altimeter (MS560702)
  • SD card port so you can save your data.
  • 16MB of external flash storage. Save data during flight (SD card connections can be sporadic during flight due to vibrations)
  • Buzzer and RGB Neopixel LEDs
  • Additional UART and I2C connections in case you want to connect external sensors like a GPS module.

Finally, if you are interested in knowing more about it of the project you can consult the details, manuals and diagrams In the following link.


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