Rocket camera for recon

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posted on May, 19 2007 @ 05:15 PM
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I was trying to figure out how to recon safely and on a budget. This escaped me for weeks. Of course there is the old fashion way, putting myself in danger and leaving my family alone. Or maybe and worse yet risk one of my family in the name of knowledge. earlier today it hit me. One of the hobbies my children and I enjoy is model rockets. I have one with a camera on it. I never thought of using it before to recon my local area.
Some times I can be a little slow. Its not a fool proof method because its pretty much at the whim of the wind and unless you have the money to get the expensive camera you do have to retreave the rocket to get the pictures. Getting the rockets back isn't all that difficult if you have a locater. Problem with a locater is the high pitch beep. IT can be heard for quite a distance. The pictures I get from mine are very clear for a miniture digital camera. Just a little food for thought.




posted on May, 19 2007 @ 05:18 PM
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Wouldnt a helium balloon be easier or hot air balloon. Then it would be a little easier to retreive. Just pull the string. Which gives me another idea maybe a kite.



posted on May, 19 2007 @ 05:56 PM
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Here's a recon tool,,,

In my local area i'd be able to do well with an RC sailplane, there's tons of lift and i could get hours of loiter time if need be. Constructed from clear monokote and painted balsa frame, it'll have a bit of visual stealth. Good for not being seen, but not so good for trying to fly.

You'd need some sort of autopilot. There are a few hobby grade autopilots on the market for both planes and helis, or if you're good with electronics i bet you can figure out a way to rig up 3 digital gyros and a GPS to a logic unit.

In the logic unit you'd assign a "box" of airspace in the form of gps values of min/max lat/lon and alt. The gyro will then trim the aircraft to remain in, say, a 1000' bubble of airspace. If you've got a tilt pan cam you can easily loiter from mid morning to near dusk silently and with a fair degree of visual stealth.

I'm sure if someone actually put some thought into a simple system like this as far as programming goes, you could task it to effectively detect and hunt thermals within the box if you can source a micro IVSI and slave that to the logic unit as an error correction and averaging function to the altimeter. With that you'd be able to tell exactly when you gain or lose lift via the logic unit and sense pockets of lift. A waypoint could be sampled at the center of tyhe column and the aircraft would be programmed to spiral back into the waypoint for as long as the IVSI detects a posotive rate of climb.

It'd work anywhere you've got good thermals.

You could also look into building a rocket you can add a ram air chute to, then use 1 rc channel to steer it back in for a landing. Launch angled upwind and just make corrections as it drifts back to you.



posted on May, 19 2007 @ 06:08 PM
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AA, the only major downside I can see to your plan is that the rocket-plume is going to be visible to anyone within range of your camera lens so giving yourself away as someone who has shiny toys worth stealing.

However, I was watching an episode of 'Mythbusters' earlier today and their experimentation with water+compressed air pop-bottle rockets....could they be used as a stealth-alternative?



posted on May, 20 2007 @ 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by earth2
Wouldnt a helium balloon be easier or hot air balloon. Then it would be a little easier to retreive. Just pull the string. Which gives me another idea maybe a kite.


You are right a helium balloon and or kite would be easier. big problems with it thow. A balloon is way more visible making it easier to trace back to you. The goal is not to be seen while your seeing them.


Originally posted by citizen smith
AA, the only major downside I can see to your plan is that the rocket-plume is going to be visible to anyone within range of your camera lens so giving yourself away as someone who has shiny toys worth stealing.


These rockets are very small and the Rocket-plume or contrail is pretty much invisible espically on a bright sunny day. the sounds they make can only be heard a short distance off so practically no noise to give away position. My latest rocket is Estes Rocket Bullpup12D Not the one I shoot the camera off with but a real fast one This thing moves quick with the bigger motors in, and it gives everybody else a idea what in the world ime talking about


However, I was watching an episode of 'Mythbusters' earlier today and their experimentation with water+compressed air pop-bottle rockets....could they be used as a stealth-alternative?


Isnt Mythbuster great? I did the h20 rockets as a kid. lots of fun espically on a hot day but with hand pumps you couldn't get the altitude or the drift time to snap good pictures. nor is there a camera ready to snap on to a soda bottle.

With the Estes Rockets you put on a slightly over sized parachute witch can be made from clear plastic and it can drift for up to a couple of minutes before it hits the ground. The launcher is easy to DIY from scrap parts laying around any garage or work shop. As for the motors there very cheap so you can buy a lot of them at one time. Ive never done it but ive read articles on making your own motors. Its not a perfect solution but its a good compromise.

[edit on 20-5-2007 by angryamerican]



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 01:29 PM
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I was looking at buying these types of tockets aswell for a bit of fun to play about with at the weekend. The problem i see with using them for this purpose is it has to be ideal conditions. If its windy you dont want to be launching a powerful rocket with a big parachute or you might aswell just throw it away.

Not good to use in built up areas, woodland, windy conditions, night time or if you have people right ontop of you.

But as with anything on this topic, it usualy comes down to a compromise. This would be good for Stealth, cheap to buy/run, large area of view and a very versatile little package.



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 02:30 PM
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I was in a store last week and they had a cordless color pan/tilt cam and control for under $100.

I don't know what the range is, but up on a utility pole, or even a handheld boom, you could see down the street from you house. If it was tied onto a TV areal or utility pole, it might go unnoticed. Most of these units are battery powered, and so don't need the grid.

A lot more versatile, even if not as good a pic.

.



posted on May, 23 2007 @ 11:54 PM
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Originally posted by manta
I was looking at buying these types of tockets aswell for a bit of fun to play about with at the weekend.


If you have kids or access to kids these things are great. they are also very educational. Ive done hobby rockets as long as I can remember. They bring a family together, every bit as much as things like fishing and hunting.


The problem i see with using them for this purpose is it has to be ideal conditions. If its windy you dont want to be launching a powerful rocket with a big parachute or you might aswell just throw it away.
Not good to use in built up areas, woodland, windy conditions, night time or if you have people right on top of you.


Well they are pretty cheap and if ya loose it ya loose it. they are also pretty easy to DIY. I've used paper towel rolls before. good for about two shots then ya toss them. if you can afford one of the new cameras you dont have to even recover the rocket because it broadcast while its either snapping pictures or taking movies.


But as with anything on this topic, it usualy comes down to a compromise. This would be good for Stealth, cheap to buy/run, large area of view and a very versatile little package.


That was my goal just another little bit of knowledge to add to our arsenal. I've always baleaved in using what you have on hand.


[edit on 23-5-2007 by angryamerican]



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 04:16 AM
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I'd say a remote control aircraft myself, rather than a rocket, as it is a lot easier to retrieve, particularly if you have a camera on it like in that video posted earlier. I'd need a bit of practice at first, but it can't be too difficult. You could probably even improvise one, it's just the servos and control that could be a problem. Though a wire guided system could eliminate a lot of problems, though it may create some problems as well. I would expect it to be relatively easy to use.



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 04:57 AM
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I reckon a combination of the two would be even better.

I'm sure it would be fairly easy and not require too much in the way of aeromodelling skills to build a wide-body rocket with flip-out wings actuated by either a piezo g-force chip (already used in model rocketry for parachute ejection) or solid-state attitude gyro chip (again, used in model rocketry) to trigger the wing-out.

At that point, the rocket becomes a glider and could give enough loiter time at a decent altitude to get some decent images

If you have standard type rocket tail-fins then you could hook up each opposing pair as aelirons and rudder to a lightweight 2-channel micro-servo for rudimentary flight control.

Keep stored in a capped tube that you can open the top and launch vertically and you have a mini-recon-stinger rocket...would look amazing to launch from the shoulder too! (though the missing singed eyebrows wouldn't)

Edit to add:

Of course, you could just go the who hog and build something totally excessive and damn good fun to scare the neighbours with...a DIY cruise missile

[edit on 24-5-2007 by citizen smith]



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by citizen smith
I reckon a combination of the two would be even better.

I'm sure it would be fairly easy and not require too much in the way of aeromodelling skills to build a wide-body rocket with flip-out wings actuated by either a piezo g-force chip (already used in model rocketry for parachute ejection) or solid-state attitude gyro chip (again, used in model rocketry) to trigger the wing-out.

At that point, the rocket becomes a glider and could give enough loiter time at a decent altitude to get some decent images


Already done the link is the beginners model they do have a design that the wings do fold flat against the rocket until its its past apex then they turn out on a center pivot and glides down.
model rocket glider


If you have standard type rocket tail-fins then you could hook up each opposing pair as aelirons and rudder to a lightweight 2-channel micro-servo for rudimentary flight control.


That would take a G motor to get any kind of altitude once you start putting on things like servos. G motors can not be had without a license.


Keep stored in a capped tube that you can open the top and launch vertically and you have a mini-recon-stinger rocket...would look amazing to launch from the shoulder too! (though the missing singed eyebrows wouldn't)

Edit to add:

Of course, you could just go the who hog and build something totally excessive and damn good fun to scare the neighbours with...a DIY cruise missile

[edit on 24-5-2007 by citizen smith]


Now were talking. my neighbors already think ime a cook. that would be the last stew for them ime sure


citizen smith take a look at the link Its closer to what you have in mind but you can see it would be a nightmare to add servos.
scissor wing rocket:



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by angryamerican
That would take a G motor to get any kind of altitude once you start putting on things like servos. G motors can not be had without a license.


I assume that would mean a more powerful rocket, but could you not add stages of smaller ones? Or more smaller ones at the start? I don't know much about this but that would seem to be one way of doing it, no?



posted on May, 24 2007 @ 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by angryamerican
That would take a G motor to get any kind of altitude once you start putting on things like servos. G motors can not be had without a license.


You're referring to solid-fuel motors which one they reach a certain size, are classified as explosive devices and as you point out, require licences to buy, own, or operate. But there is a form of propulsion that side-steps that particular piece of legislation; Nitrous-Oxide hybrid engines.

These engines rely on the oxidisation process of polythene or similar fuel-grain source by the NOx to provide the thrust...and the greatest danger that could be posed is fits of the giggles from a leaking NOx oxidiser line



"..Hybrid rocket motors are not subject to the same laws, since they do not contain pre-mixed fuel and oxidiser, nor do they require fuel and oxidiser to be mixed until they are launched, nor are the fuel and oxidiser dangerous.."


The only laws you could possibly violate are ones requiring Air Traffic Control notification as some of these contraptions have ceilings in the 000's of feet
More on hybrid rocketry here




[edit on 24-5-2007 by citizen smith]






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