nanoAlt - world’s smallest rocket altimeter

Let’s talk nanoAlt. I teased the first iteration of nanoAlt on twitter some weeks ago, as a 12x19mm altimeter designed for 13mm model rocket airframes. I also said I was aiming for an early May release, but there have been a whole bunch of changes since then so I’m now aiming for mid summer. 

Here’s how nanoAlt is planned right now:  

  • nanoAlt Alpha - this will be the first iteration released, and will feature peak detection only, with altitude peak feedback through a blinking LED on recovery. 
  • nanoAlt Bravo - the second iteration of nanoAlt will come with a single pyro channel set to deploy a set time after apogee. Useful for altitude record attempts using longer burning booster motors that don’t have ejection charges.  
  • nanoAlt Charlie - the third planned iteration, looking to include a built in pyro charge designed for small diameter models. Pending tests on the feasibility of measuring, mounting and igniting the tiny amount of pyro needed.  
  • nanoAlt Integrate - nanoAlt Integrate is a series of mounting rings I intend to design to mount all Alpha, Bravo and Charlie models of nanoAlt in a variety of commonly used model rocket body diameters.  

Work on the devboards for nanoAlt Alpha and Bravo is almost complete and I expect to have a production batch shortly after the embedded software has been tested. I’m also trying to fit programming pads on the production board to cut down dev time and production steps, but due to the smaller size of Alpha compared to the initial teased design, this is proving difficult! 

One thing I am changing is the size of button cell used. In the teased design a 10mm coin cell was used, which proved to be the limiting factor in the size of the altimeter. I’m aiming for a 6mm or smaller cell this time round, so the size should be smaller still. 

The altimeter family is intended to be certified with UKRA to be used in competition launches.  

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