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I have no experience with the rpi and rocketry. I have good skills regarding programming in java, c++, python. I also have good experience with Linux (been using Linux since I was 10), Linux fedora to be specific, the transition to Debian like systems should be fine. I need recommendations for any API or software open source and free of charge for this sort of project. It is very ambitious, but I think it will help me with experience.

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If you're trying to actually control your rocket, you want something like a microcontroller, as the raspberry pi is frankly overkill in some respects and inadequate in others. Namely:

  • It uses quite a bit of power. A pi 0 uses 100+mA under load, and requires a regulated 5V power supply. An atmega or attiny uses ~10-15mA and can run from a 3V coin cell.
  • It's heavy. A raspberry pi 0, while small still has extra parts you don't need, doubly so if you take needing a regulated power supply into account. A microcontroller can run with only the bare chip and some capacitors.
  • It has an operating system, which you don't really need. Having an operating system also means it's not realtime, so if you need your system to react quickly to something, the pi includes the possibility of pausing your program for 10s of ms while the OS does other stuff. A micro controller can guarantee handling events in 10s of us.
  • It has only one dedicated PWM pin. If you want to control servos (which you probably will), you need a low jitter PWM pin for each one. An atmega168 has 6, an attiny45 has 3, plus the real time operating system means you can reliably do PWM in software without too much trouble. The raspberry pi's OS means that software PWM will not work very well.

My advice to you would be to prototype your code on a development board and use a raw microcontroller (the smallest that will do what you need) on your actual rocket.

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