Hello From A BSA Rocketeer!
Robert from Charlotte, NC, USA here. I have been the Rocketry Station lead at Webelos Adventure Camp for five years. Yes, you read that correctly, putting black powder in the hands of fourth and fifth graders...
To celebrate, I'm upping the ante: building a custom launch control system. 😀
You see we normally have ten Scouts/LCOs "drag race" their rockets at a time. But that then leaves us struggling to push through enough load/fly/recover cycles to get everyone through in time to get to their next station of learning & fun. We'll have 20-40 Scouts learn about engineering, rocketry, & safety; and build kits to fly _twice_ every hour. We fly once, talk to them about timing, winds, other factors beyond control that left us scattered about the rocket range....then how to adjust for those factors, and fly again to see the results.
But it takes so long to do at just ten at a time. So let's do twenty, thirty--or more! But as a seasoned RSO, there is _no_way_ that I am handing out twenty plus individual launch controllers & "keys" to fidgety fourth graders! So to compensate, let's build a unified launch control system--something with multiple layers of systemic safety controls! Each PadBox has a power disconnect. The RSOBox has a removable "Master Arm" key and a "dead man" countdown switch. And the individual Scouts/LCOs have to insert a "key," flip open a cover, and hold their launch buttons. Only with launch power, RSO, LCOs, -AND- Countdown terminal window (two seconds at end) in agreement can anyone actually send current to an igniter!!!
By making it modular, we can make it easier to store and to drag out to the field. We can also make it easier to swap out components, if some channel fails. We can scale down to lend out minimal parts to small launch events. We can scale up/out by building more PadBoxes & LaunchPanels to have tens, hundreds, even the _entire_camp_ launch at once!
But enough about my latest fun project. Are there any other Cub/Boy Scouts leaders or rocketeers on these forums?