September 27, 2012 AT 12:49 pm

Data Logging Model Rocket Engines on the Shepard Test Stand #OHS

The Shepard Test Stand is a neat way to strap on a model rocket engine and log data from an Arduino. The Shepard Test Stand is on display at the Open Hardware Summit.

The Shepard Test Stand is a test stand for Estes rocket motors. It is named after Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut, as it is our first test stand. We anticipate using an Arduino board to provide the physical interface between the data collecting computer and the required sensors. This project is the first in a series of projects to develop the required skills for the practice of safe rocket engine operation, and to develop the capability to measure and record data about a rocket engine’s performance. The use of Estes class motors provides a relatively safe environment to learn in before moving to higher powered motors and engines. The ultimate vision is to develop test stands for full scale liquid rocket engines for use in orbital launch systems.

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2 Comments

  1. What is this actually measuring? Does anyone have any documentation on what a shepard test stand is?

  2. The test stand in the video is measureing thrust. You can get a crude approximation of the thrust of a rocket motor using your bathroom scale.

    Or you can use something like a force-sensitive resistor (https://www.adafruit.com/products/166) connected to an arduino and sampled at (small) discrete time steps to get a much better idea what the thrust curve of a given rocket motor looks like.

    Also, kudos to whoever made that video. Their range safty was very nearly textbook perfect. :-)

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