Learning From a Rocket with the World's Smallest Flight Computer

Immensely complex and high risk (and also a lot of fun!).

James Lewis
3 months ago
Hand pick-and-place of Spark's SAM D21 (πŸ“·: BPS.Space YouTube channel)

Shreeek is a three-stage rocket from BPS.Space featuring the world's smallest rocket flight computer. Joe Barnard describes the ups and downs of the Shreeek's development journey with the lessons learned along the way in an educational and entertaining video.

The rocket's name represents each of the three stages with the letter 'e.' The result is a name that sounds like the movie with a long syllable in the middle. Stage one and two of the rocket are nearly identical, while the third stage has an actuator for roll control.

We have covered BPS.Space products and Barnard in the past with the AVA flight computer and a 1:1 interview. In this video, This rocket features what Barnard describes as the world's smallest flight computer.

Since the flight computer contains a Microchip SAM D21 32-bit Arm processor, the Arduino IDE can program it. In addition to the microcontroller PCB, the tiny flight computer has an inertial measurement unit (IMU), voltage regulators, and switches (MOSFETs) necessary for flight operations. The 16 x 17mm board does lack one feature, however, an EEPROM or other means to log data.

After a couple of less-than-successful launches, Barnard admits that the lack of data logging capability has made it more challenging to correct issues with the rocket on each iteration.

The board featured in this video has the name "Spark" silk-screened on it. However, it does not appear to be available for sale or with instructions to build. While Spark may not be available, other controllers are in the BPS.Space store.

Shreeek project build video (πŸ“·: BPS.Space YouTube channel)

Check out the full video on the BPS.Space YouTube channel. Barnard gives a great introduction to the PCB manufacturing process, shows steps in building the rocket, and does it with an entertaining flair.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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