Week 4: Coding the Altimeter

Mar 20, 2019


Monday: I began to look into altimeter implementation and parachute deployment code within my rocket. An altimeter is a device that is placed inside the rocket during flight which indicates the height of the rocket at every point throughout the flight. It is crucial for correct analysis on fin optimization. The altimeter must be connected to the parachute properly, so that the parachute only deploys when the corresponding heights of the rocket are decreasing. In other words, the slope of the rocket’s height in respect to time—dy/dt—should be negative. If this distinction is not properly coded into the altimeter, the parachute may deploy too early, causing for mid-flight destruction of the rocket.

Tuesday: I began to look into how to code the altimeter, so I went to SJSU to talk to the mechanical engineering and computer science students that are also working on a similar project. They taught me about aircraft transponders, devices that send wired transmission to ground radar. I spent a short day learning how these transponders work, and began to delve into how to code them.

Wednesday: Today I once again went to SJSU, and made a pseudo code with the SJSU students on the altimeter coding. It involves a software and hardware component, the software being recognition of the negative altitude slope with respect to time, and the hardware component being a connection of radio transmission from the altimeter to the computer.

Thursday: Today I worked from home, delving into the Eclipse and attempting to implement my pseudo code from the previous day. One portion of the code that confused me was the literal transmission of signal from the transponder. Therefore, I spent a large part of my day researching once again on transponder connection. By the end of the day, I had gotten my program to the point where it had minimal bugs, and I was almost complete with the software portion of the altimeter.

Friday: Again, I worked from home, and made some minor touch-ups to my software bugs from the previous day. While I fixed some bugs, I uncovered new ones, and much of the progress I was making on one conditional was being taken away be another in the code. Although I was close to finishing the software portion, it was obvious that I needed some help from the SJSU students or my professor.


2 Replies to “Week 4: Coding the Altimeter”

  1. Edrea J. says:

    It looks like you’re making good progress. I think your approach of utilizing different resources and actually going to talk to and seek help from other students is clever and admirable.

  2. Chethan B. says:

    Coding always uncovers new difficulties, even with a seemingly simple problem like detecting a negative slope. What complications did you run into with coding in this case?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.