This project will verify the capabilities of an accelerometer for launch aboard suborbitalvehicles. If our prototype reliably produces data with ample resolution, it can be used to study the mesosphere and the reentry of suborbital vehicles. With partial support from NASA's Low Cost Access to Space Program, we hope to provide drag data on free-falling vehicles in the mesosphere. Our set up consists of a 3-axis accelerometer in a 10 cm CubeSat and a 12 bit data logger at 1024 Hz sampling rate. With zero-g environment data, we apply spectral analysis to find the amplitude of each frequency in our signal. In our testing phase this will be used to characterize noise present in the device while in a rocket test this will tell us how drag on the vehicle affects the rocket's flight. Once we are satisfied with the behavior of the instrument and understand the voltage outputs adequately, we plan to prepare a report to XCOR Aerospace to fly our instrument on the Lynx suborbital space plane.
Burkholder, B. and Lehmacher, G., "Accelerometer measurements to characterize drag profiles in the mesosphere" (2014). Focus on Creative Inquiry. 72.