The unit and expertise SBG Systems provided helped us getting closer to achieving an optimized control algorithm for the airbrakes

University of Ottawa participated in the Spaceport America Cup

The Spaceport America Cup is the world’s largest international intercollegiate rocket engineering contest, combining academic conferences and competition. During the 2019 edition, 1,500 students from more than 124 teams launched solid, liquid, and hybrid rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet. For their 2nd participation, uORocketry, the University of Ottawa Rocketry Team, proceeded to another iteration on their previously successful design to improve key features.


A rocket with an amazing automated air-braking system

uORocketry rocket, Jackalope, enjoys a significant competitive advantage: its automated air-braking system, fully controlled by their on-board flight computer. It increases drag and slows the rocket down as it approaches altitude. One of the team’s major goals this year was the improvement of their recovery system’s reliability. To achieve it, they relied on their mechanically robust air-braking system, as well as a control method to effectively actuate it. The avionics system is responsible for the real-time control of the airbrakes, staging of the recovery system, and sending telemetry during flight for data logging and recovery.


Improving the recovery system reliability thanks to the Ellipse2-N

uORocketry integrated SBG Systems’ Ellipse2-N Inertial Navigation System to their 2019 avionics solution in order to achieve an optimized control algorithm for the airbrakes. The INS/GNSS solution is incorporated to the hardware’s power board and is used for state estimations, which help find the ideal airbrake deployment.

Air-braking scheme integrating an INS

The Ellipse2-N embeds an inertial measurement unit composed of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers coupled with a GPS and a barometer. It provides robust orientation, altitude, and navigation data in the harshest conditions thanks to high-quality industrial-grade components calibrated in dynamics and temperature (from -40 to 85°C).
It was used to best control the flight and reach the required altitude, and also to deploy the recovery system optimally. It helped finding the rocket’s proper configuration and ideal position to deploy the parachutes for landing and recovery.


uORocketry has participated in the SA Cup in both 2018 and 2019. With their rocket named Jackalope, they reached the TOP 10 this year, as they ranked 8th/122! They were also placed 4th out of the 47 teams competing in their category: 10,000ft altitude, commercial motor. More than just competing, they even gave a presentation about their air-braking scheme, used for a precise final altitude during flights.

About uORocketry

uOttawa Rocketry is a multidisciplinary university-based student engineering team founded in 2016. Since then, they’ve developed numerous aerospace projects such as a hybrid rocket engine, a parachute concept, custom avionics systems, and even unique ignition mechanisms. Their main focus, however, is building rockets.


Single Antenna RTK GNSS

  • 0.05° Roll and Pitch (RTK)
  • 0.2° Heading (RTK high dynamics)
  • 5 cm Real-time Heave
  • 1 cm RTK GNSS Position
  • Raw Data for Post-Processing
  • Extremely small OEM module
  • Full Development Kit
  • ROS Driver
More info ››