TeleLaunch — Multi-channel Wireless Launch Controller System

TeleLaunch is secure radio-controlled rocket launch system capable of operating up to 792 pads from a single controler. A typical TeleLaunch system consists of one LCO unit and one or more pyro units.

TeleLaunch uses a two-way digital radio communications system for positive indication of all operations. The communications link is secured with AES CBC-MAC to prevent accidental or intentional operation from unauthorized transmitters.

TeleLaunch operates in the 70cm amateur band at low power using Altus Metrum's proven modulation and coding schem to avoid interference with any rocketry electronics or other communication devices.

All boards in the TeleLaunch system are easily configured using USB for parameters like operating frequency, callsign, cryptographic key, and in the case of pyro units the designated bank number.

Launch Control Products

All launch control units in the TeleLaunch system are designed to use a lithium polymer battery that can be recharged over USB. They support distinct arm and fire switches, continuous indication of igniter continuity, and have super-bright LED indicators for remote arming, continuity, and RF link quality plus an audible indication of arming.

TeleLCO

TeleLCO controls up to 99 TeleFire banks, comes packaged in a rugged case, and is typically placed on a table for use by the designated LCO.

  • Large 1.36 inch LCD display for selected bank and pad

  • Rotary knob for pad selection

  • Packaged in Pelican 1170 orange box

Drag races are supported with a separate normal/drag mode selection switch, drag mode LED, and select pushbutton. Channels that are included in the current drag race selection have blinking continuity indicators.

The TeleLCO hardware design is available from git.gag.com in the project hw/telelco.

TeleLCOTwo

A small LCO unit capable of handling up to two pyro channels. TeleLCOTwo is ideal for individuals, or clubs that have an existing launch control system but want to use TeleLaunch for an "away" launch cell.

TeleLCOTwo is configured in advance by USB to know which two pyro channels it should interact with, and then a simple rocker switch selects between the two during use.

TeleLCOTwo comes packaged in a weather-sealed polycarbonate box with switches on one face, and BNC antenna connector and USB connectors through the box walls. It can be placed on a table, but is typically hand-held during operation.

The TeleLCOTwo hardware design is available from git.gag.com in the project hw/telelcotwo.

Pyro Boards

Each pyro board in the TeleLaunch system uses FET technology for lowest possible resistance paths, allowing maximum current to be reliably delivered from the power source to the igniter leads. TeleFire boards can be powered by any 10-15V supply. This would typically be a 12V lead acid battery, but 3-cell lithium polymer packs used in RC aircraft are also suitable.

Each board features:

  • Continuity Detection. Igniter continuity uses a low-current sensing system which sends only 100µA through the igniter to prevent false ignition.

  • Super-bright LEDs for continuity, arming and RF quality indicators.

  • Strobe and Siren. TeleFireFour has two 12V medium current (5A) outputs to drive a siren and strobe light when the launch system is armed and ready to fire.

  • Local arming switch. When in the safe position, power is completely disconnected from the igniter circuits to prevent any possibility of the LCO accidentally engaging firing circuits during rocket preparations at the pad.

  • Each board is designed to fit in a standard Hammond weather-sealed polycarbonate enclosure with weather-sealed rocker switches for power and arming plus cable glands for DC input cable and igniter output cables. Alternatively, boards can be configured to mount in the user's choice of enclosure, such as a metal ammo box or larger NEMA enclosure with space for the user's choice of external connectors.

TeleFireTwo

TeleFireTwo is a pyro board supporting two igniter circuits. This makes TeleFireTwo ideal for individuals, launch trailers, or for "away cells" at larger club launches.

All high-current connections are made on the board using standard 1/4-inch spade lugs, with screw terminals for the siren and strobe. This allows for easy packaging and quick board swaps.

The photo above is of an early single-channel prototype, the design has changed significantly since then and we'll take new photos someday. The two switches are for power on/off and safe/arm. The two cables are for DC power in and igniter leads out.

The TeleFireOne hardware design is available from git.gag.com in the project hw/telefiretwo.

TeleFireEight

TeleFireEight has eight igniter circuits, making it ideal for use at club launches. Larger clubs or launch site setups can use multiple boards to organize the site into multiple banks with up to 8 rockets each.

For ease of use and quick reconfiguration, a simple DIP switch on the board inside the ammo box is used to select any of the first 8 banks, which is more than sufficient for most club needs. If all switches are off, the bank number up to 99 configured over USB will be used instead.

The above photo shows a fully packaged early production version, with integral 12 Ah sealed lead acid battery. There are another four pyro outlets on the other side of the box, making the design ideal for placing in the middle of an 8-rail bank.

The TeleFireEight hardware design is available from git.gag.com in the project hw/telefireeight.

Documentation

There's a cheat-sheat inside the lid of TeleLCO that has proven to be completely sufficient for our prototype users to figure out and use the system.

A complete manual for the TeleLaunch system is available in html and pdf formats.

Software

TeleLaunch firmware is part of the larger AltOS suite of software. For now, configuration of frequencies, callsigns, and crypto keys requires a laptop with terminal emulator and a USB cable, but we are likely to produce an easier to use configuration program eventually.

Availability

TeleLCO and TeleFireEight are now in production, and available for purchase directly through the Garbee and Garbee online store.

Prototypes of the other products in this family have been built, deployed, and used successfully. Updates to the designs are underway and we hope to have additional products available in 2019.

Licenses

TeleLaunch hardware is licensed under the TAPR Open Hardware License

TeleLaunch software is licensed GPL version 2