codename "control center console". the startbox is a mixture of (os)hard- and software. its meant to be used as an education control center for launching a rocket. it will show old and young kids the thrill of a rocket launch and all the procedures and let them have a closer look into - last but not least they will become a flight operator. the box contains a small standard circuit with the ability to add different modules, such as countdown module, sensor modules, rocket telemetrie and so on

This project is solving the 3-2-1 LIFTOFF: Launch that Rocket! challenge.


the goal of this project is to design a concept and finaly build a kit for a model rocket startbox acting as a small control center with the ability to add modules like sensors, rocket telemetrie etc.

its meant to use with model rockets to give the young and old kids a view into rocket preparation tasks before and after launch and feel all the pins and needles during process..

the box is built almost from scratch, using small programmable pics, easy electric and electronic cicuits in addition to small pieces of software.

A module could contain sensors for measuring e.g.

  • distances to the launchpad

  • wind and wetaher conditions

  • countdown and other alerts for e.g. light barriers around the launchpad, cameras etc.., almost everything you can think of :)

the hardware will use very simple electronics and software for default tasks, like ignitor circuit checks, countdown, lots of switches and lamps.

output of all sensordata and current task is send via simple serial output and can be used to feed e.g. a gameengine to show the data simulation and telemetire on screen etc. (but this would be user contributed pieces of software maybe)

Prototype 2015

no external computers should be needed to have a fully working control-center but can be added to evaluate data or do other tasks. in addition, the console is able to receive signals from modules and external computers. think of a map with obstacles in which direction the rocket should not start, or computing estimated landing position etc....

Prototype 2015

some aditional keywords i sshould have mentioned somewhere... but my english is very broken. so instead of spending hours on correcting, i just spread them out here....

  • should be mobile version, or stationary bigger one.

  • solid versions for education, schools, universities...., training purposes

  • opensource hardware, software

  • easy electronics

  • not expensive

  • should available as kit and ready to use

  • build your own! or get one from a manufacturer

  • extendable

  • spare parts should all easily available

  • programming should be easy

  • create own modules

  • connect boxes together and share modules

  • connect boxes to computer an internet, use real time clocks to synchronous rocket starts

  • connect the box to your computer and simulate a launch in a game

  • connect the box to computer and make your own games or simulations

Prototype 2015

please watch the repository at github and see diagrams, schmeatics and all scribbles, photos, logfiles, descriptions etc etc pp. as an important part of this description :)

the following software/hardware was used or will be used to create the project files and description etc:

KiCAD, DIA, Seamonkey, LibreCad, Bluefish, XMind, Gimp, Picaxe, Blender, LibreOffice

Paper, Pens and a Camera and lots of other stuff laying around.

(sry for my bad english ;-)

Prototype 2015

Prototype 2015

Prototype 2015

irc channel for this project is at #startbox

a prototype of the startbox was born in 2011 for the CCCamp in Finowfurt, but failed successfully on the field... we continued with a simple battery and 2-wires!

want to participate? questions? send a mail to [email protected]


failure is not an option


(i dont want to change that description after april 12. , so there is a review version at )

project log :)



final steps! put all together and publish all my work. review description


you can follow the project on twitter, facebook, or g+,

rocketlaunch #startbox.

still a one man show. but i got connected to another team with a very similar thingy. go or nogo? thats the question. greeeets! im still not sure about what license is the correct one. tried to join lab75 in ffm, but tarvelling would take too much time, so only virtual participation at home. i got green light and a go from my wife and daughter.


watch the amazing opening ceremony in lab75 frankfurt.


for simplicity i would prefer the picaxe education pic, lots of I/O needed. i had some experiences with the picaxe as a very beginner in electronics, and its easines is fascinating and it has everything needed - lots of dac i/o, i2c, sound etc., so the project can concentrate on scheme and a detailed description of what the cicuit need, the design of the panel/box/(koffer) etc. so we get a good concept, and maybe kind of prototype.

03.04.2015: i (kalle) personally will take part in the spacechallenge at lab75 in frankfurt. and we will be online (irc/mail, etc) all the time - virtual participation is higly welcome

Project Information

License: GNU Affero General Public License 3.0 (AGPL-3.0)"

Source Code/Project URL:


Prototype (Idea) 2011 (cccamp) -
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  • Volker Augustin