Model rockets suffer from a wide variance of flight patterns due to imperfections in construction, launch equipment, and weather. This reality can make the recovery of rockets or their payloads more d..
Model rockets suffer from a wide variance of flight patterns due to imperfections in construction, launch equipment, and weather. This reality can make the recovery of rockets or their payloads more difficult when launching within the vicinity of buildings and trees. A functioning stabilization system would be useful in increasing the predictability of a rocket’s flight. A canard-based stabilization system using proportional control will allow for its manufacture by groups or individuals who lack resources beyond a high-school education. To demonstrate that such a capability is within reach of high-school students, a model in which to control a small rocket is conceptualized and developed into a proportional control system. A rocket dubbed “Freefall” is designed and built to accommodate the stabilization system and a science payload. Extensive ground testing of the system is completed to validate the concepts of the system, and a live flight test is performed to demonstrate it. Visual evidence and the data from the flight data recorder indicated that the system successfully corrected the pitch and yaw axes but failed to control roll, seemingly a result of overcorrection. The partial success of the control system indicates that a proportional control system is a feasible concept and can be refined further to create a fully functioning system. Above all, the project demonstrates that active stabilization projects are accessible to groups without university instruction or professional help.