College of Engineering Unit:
The ESRA (Experimental Sounding Rocket Association) Payload Team is tasked with creating a scientific payload to fly in the ESRA Rocket team's custom made rocket at the Spaceport America Cup Competition. In the spirit of ESRA Rocket's name, "Initium Novum", or "New Beginnings", the Payload Team has designed a deployable environmental rehabilitation and scouting robot, FarmBot.
The robot will start in the rocket on the launchpad, and during the rocket's descent, eject from the rocket at 1,500 ft deploying both its own parachute and the rocket's main parachute. Once FarmBot lands, it will reorient itself and begin its operations. For the Spaceport America Competition, FarmBot will disperse seeds and water in a wide area around the landing site, mimicking the spread of grass seed. Multiple sensors will receive data from the environment, such as temperature and humidity, and upload the data to a storage device to then be analyzed later.
Once its basic operations have completed, FarmBot will broadcast its location with a flight computer, allowing it to be recovered from the field with ease. It can then be cleaned, reloaded, and prepped for the next mission.