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How many sensors in a rocket?

  1. Jan 3, 2019 #1

    does anyone know how many sensors a typical rocket have and what they are? Where can I find such a list?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2019 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Depends on the rocket. What kind?
  4. Jan 7, 2019 #3
    Typical large liquid-fueled rocket stage (not the whole rocket) would have about 100 sensors. Majority of them are hall effect sensors and optical encoders in various servo-mechanisms.
  5. Jan 7, 2019 #4
    Just conventional fluid rocket, not so specific as Delta.

  6. Jan 7, 2019 #5


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    Gold Member

    you are still being very vague ... get specific !

    hobbyist rocket ?
    commercial one ?
    size ?
    and any other relevant info for people to help you

    I could say as many as maybe 500 for an old Saturn V or as few as a couple for a small hobbyist one
  7. Jan 7, 2019 #6


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    Probably this kind of information on a commercial rocket like a Space-X Falcon is proprietary and not publicly available.
  8. Jan 8, 2019 #7


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    "In 1969, the Saturn 5 1st stage had over 900 sensors poling at up to 120 samples per second and had about a dozen live feed video cameras..."
    "I would think it is safe to say that the sensor load of data at SpaceX was likely higher than what was seen in 1969..."

    (above from: https://www.quora.com/What-technolo...nvestigation-of-the-recent-Falcon-9-explosion)

  9. Jan 8, 2019 #8
    Likely correct, but please remember Saturn 5 had 5 engines in first stage. Modern stages (with exception of Falcon) usually have 1-2 engines.
  10. Jan 8, 2019 #9


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    I can believe the numbers for the Saturn V, but the numbers for modern rockets seem shockingly/impossibly low. My cell phone and a single industrial motor controller each have around a dozen sensors. I'd be shocked if a SpaceX rocket didn't have thousands or tens of thousands.
  11. Jan 8, 2019 #10
    Well, one spec for 30-ton 2-engine fighter jet i seen back in 2004 called for 256 sensor inputs in electronics bay. Will be actually lower count because some inputs are unused. Older fighters with network based on milstd-1553 were limited to 32 sensors per bus. Plus some sensors wired as stand alone.
    Falcon rocket actually have Ethernet bus from beginning, which indicate they have much more than 256 sensors typical for CAN-like networks, and i expect sensor count for Falcon to be in lower thousands range.
  12. Jan 8, 2019 #11


    Staff: Mentor

    The question in this thread is so vague, there can be no right answers or wrong answers.

    Thread closed.
    @senmeis , if you can provide a more specific version of your question, send me a PM and we can reopen this thread.
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