Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Computer Engineering

First Advisor

John Spinelli


Model Rocket, Competition, Rover, Air Quality, Union College Rocket Team, GPS, Radio, Flight Computer


The goal of the project laid out in this paper is to develop a model rocket range and altitude tracking system and a payload for said rocket which conducts an experiment of some scientific merit. The requirements for the project are defined by the rules of an international model rocket design and build competition for undergraduate and graduate students. This paper presents a design to accomplish the specified goals to the standards of the competition rule set, for use by the Union College Rocket Team at the competition. First, an off-the-shelf flight computer is purchased to implement the range and altitude tracking requirements. The selected component is researched thoroughly and tested to ensure it performs as expected. Next, a design is developed for a scientific payload known as the Habitability Assessing Research Vehicle, or HARVe for short. HARVe is a rover which is stored within a model rocket and, depending on the rocket’s capabilities, can be deployed while in flight or on the ground after the rocket has landed. Once it is free of the rocket and on the ground, it will roam the landing zone and assess the habitability of the area through imaging and air quality tests. As of the submission of this report, HARVe has been prototyped to complete a number of its final functions, yet testing and further implementation of these abilities continues as the design is iteratively improved.