Deployment and Stabilisation of a Space Web in Micro-Gravity

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Let’s freeze Suaineadh

On Monday and Tuesday this week, Johannes and Thomas took the electronics to the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Glasgow to perform the first thermal test of the experiment. Malcolm joined for a couple of hours for support as well. REXUS/BEXUS requires thermal tests that should validate Suaineadh’s performance for the environmental conditions that the experiment has to withstand in Kiruna and on its way to space. The minimum temperature required by REXUS/BEXUS is -10C and the highest is +45C, the experiment has to work without a problem for at least 15 minutes.

The fist thermal test performed included the mechanical parts that could experience problems at lower or higher temperatures. Therefore the reaction wheel, the linear guide rails, the release spine, the web and the wave spring got tested. All the components worked nominal after the freezing and heating.

The second thermal test included the electronics of Suaineadh. The electronics were booted up at room temperature and then the chamber was cooled down to -10C and the temperature was held for 15 minutes without any problem, everything worked nominal. In the next test the entire electronic was turned off and let cool down until all the components had ambient temperature (-10C). During the cold start, all the electronics turned on but the ground support software didn’t get any readings. The Suaineadh team is looking into this error at the moment in Stockholm and Glasgow to eliminate the source. Another thermal test of the entire experiment is planned for mid October anyways. The following test, where the components were heated up to +45C, was carried out without any problem. Even a hot restart at these temperatures didn’t showed any problems or anomalies.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Suaineadh’s first vacuum test

Suaineadh’s first vacuum test was scheduled for Thursday last week in the physics department of the University of Strathclyde. Johannes and Thomas started on Wednesday preparing the electronics for the upcoming test. The electronics were checked for their functionality and thermocouples were attached to components that were prone to overheating. Due to the nonexistence of convective cooling (cooling by air) in a vacuum, especially the CPU can heat up quickly and get damaged. The work continued until the late evening hours on Wednesday with the support from Adam and Jerker via Skype from Stockholm.

On the test day, all the components had to be brought over to the physics department that was luckily just across a small park from the mechanical & aerospace department. The set up of the vacuum experiment took until after lunch. The first vacuum test was undertaken with the FPGA board, the two different cameras and one IMU. The test was successful, the FPGA worked fine over the 10 minute test time and the cameras and IMUs had no indication of damage. The set-up for the second test, that inherent almost the entire electronics took longer than expected. At closing time, the Suaineadh team arranged the electronics in the vacuum chamber but the measurements taken showed unusual readings even without applied vacuum. At the end of the day, the team had to postpone the test because the workshop was closing.

The Suaineadh team is hopeful that for Monday’s thermal test, the mistake will be found and it can be preceded as planned. The next vacuum test is scheduled in three weeks from now. The Suaineadh team wants to thank Robert Dawson and Tom McCanny of the physics department for their help and advice during the vacuum test; it would have not been possible without them.

Separation Springs arrived in Strathclyde

On Wednesday, two wave springs arrived from the Swiss company Baumann Springs Ltd. . Baumann Springs Ltd. manufactured to wave springs for Suaineadh’s ejection system from the REXUS rocket for free. The Suaineadh team wants to thank Baumann Springs Ltd. for their generous contribution. Johannes, Malcolm and Thomas will meet on Monday to discuss how the springs can be integrated in the Magic Head, Suaineadh’s ejection barrel.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Successfull Daughter Release Test during IPR

The Suaineadh team successfully tested the daughter release mechanism inside CHAD with the daughter ejection during Fridays Interim Progress Review (IPR)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Suaineadh passed their IPR!

For the Interim Progress Review (IPR), Mark Uitendaal from SCC Esrange and Mark Fittock from DLR Bremen visited the Suaineadh team in Glasgow on the 2nd of September 2011. The IPR was scheduled for 11am. Thomas started the IPR with a presentation summarising the work undertaken during last week’s Integration Week and gave an overview about what the REXUS experts can expect from Suaineadh’s IPR. In the following Jerker showed the experts how the FPGA works and Adam walked them trough the electronic components and the ground support software. A full test run with all signals was undertaken after the explanation of the electronic components, Adam even showed the experts how to record images with five of Suaineadh’s cameras. Another test run of the software was done to show that the software can trigger a pyro cutter that releases the daughters inside CHAD, this test was undertaken successfully. An overview about the mechanical progress was given by Malcolm after the daughter release test. A vibration test on the prototype structure was also performed. The experts were quite pleased with the progress so far and announced, after a nice lunch in Ashton Lane where Mark Uitendaal received a birthday surprise, that the Suaineadh team passed the IPR. :)