"Rockin' Out With Rockets"

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I highlighted this project earlier this month in the Kinect Gallery, Kinecting to rockets... by Kevin Erickson, but there's more information now (i.e. a 58 page doc) and I just dig the idea of using app's, Xbox Controllers and/or a Kinect to fire off rockets!

Rockin' Out With Rockets

Rockin' Out With Rockets started out as an attempt to make a simple amateur rocket launching system for Estes style rockets. In the downloads section the zip file will contain two solutions. One solution is for a simple implementation of the rocket system that is meant to accompany a tutorial written for Channel9. The second solution is a more full featured implementation of the rocket launching system that has additional safety features.

The code provided will not be maintained moving forward. Please feel free to use it get started with similar projects. It is intended for use with very specific hardware (see the Documentation page).

Complete Guide (Word Document)

Project 1 - RockinOutWithRockets3
This is the project that follows the tutorial posted on Channel9.

  • Features:
    • Laptop GUI
    • Launch from Kinect for Windows
    • Launch from Xbox 360 Controller for Windows

Project 2 - RockinOutWithRockets2
More full featured program with expanded controls.

  • Features:
    • Laptop GUI
    • Launch from Kinect for Windows
    • Launch from Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
    • Use of text-to-speech API
    • Kinect for Windows Grammar that pays tribute to War Games


Here's some snips from the Docx.

Rockin’ Out With Rockets

Amateur rocketry is as old as the Space Race itself and has inspired many young people for decades. The movie October Sky shows one such story of inspiration. When I started this project my goal was to find a cool project that I could implement with code and hardware. I also wanted to inspire my kids with the “Maker Spirit” which led me the idea of building a computer controlled rocket launcher. With this in mind I am writing this article in hopes that anyone 15 years or older with a basic familiarity of Visual Studio and programming can follow along.

Kevin Erickson

Source Code: Download

Difficulty: Intermediate

Time Required: 7 hours
Cost: $110 - $510 (Depends on how much of the optional stuff you choose to implement)

Estes Rocket Launch Kit, Phidget InterfaceKit 0/0/4, Estes Launch Pad (Optional), Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows (Optional), Kinect for Windows (Optional)
Software Needed: Visual C# Express, Phidgets Drivers, SharpDX, Kinect for Windows SDK
Hardware: Laptop (you provide your own), Estes Rocket Launch Kit, Phidget InterfaceKit 0/0/4, Estes Launch Pad (Optional – quantity 3), Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows (Optional), Kinect for Windows (Optional)

Getting Started

Please note that the cost of this project can run between $110 and $510 depending on how much of the optional functionality you would choose to implement. This article will cover all functionality implementations so you can decide how far to take your implementation. All optional functionality will be called out as such. The first sections will deal with getting the base implementation completed prior to covering any of the optional items. This launcher will have the ability to launch up to four rockets at a time.

This project will be implemented using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application and C# code behind. All code sections will include the name of the file that is being edited in a comment at the top of the code section. I created the project using Visual Studio 2012 Professional, you should be able to use Visual C# Express which you can download by following the link in the software section.

On CodePlex you will find two source code versions. One version follows this article exactly and covers how to get the items implemented. The second version differs in implementation and is a more fully featured application. The video on this site demonstrates the more fully featured implementation.


This is a full fledged Coding4Fun like write up (funny that given the file name, c4f_RockinOutWithRockets_Article.docx... Wink. It takes you from the hardware list to writing code and making it all work. If you have the least bit of interest in this kind of thing (come on, it's rockets!), it's a must read...

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