Deployment and Stabilisation of a Space Web in Micro-Gravity

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment