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Welcome to our monthly updates, we are going to trial one of these each month to keep you updated on what’s going on at BLUEsat! January has certainly been a busy time for all of our teams here.


From the Mechanical Team

Its been a fantastic month of development. Our team finalised the rovers suspension system, a component that we anticipate will provide a great deal of stability to the platform (see image). Additionally our laser cut Chassis parts have arrived, and after a bit of post machining will be ready for fitment tests and total chassis construction. Looking ahead, the team plans to have the top and base plate of the chassis manufactured in the next few weeks.

Thomas Renneberg, Robotics CTO & Mech Chapter Lead

A screenshot of a serial terminal displaying output from BLUEsat's ROS over CAN system. Succesfully transmitting a message. The text reads "Recived Full Message. Join 'Hello CAN', pwm 100"

From the Software Team

Steady progress is being made across the team. We’ve had a few key developments in the CAN bus network, with our embedded system for publishing ROS messages now sending and the on-board computer receiving and routing the packets (the latter part in final testing). Rover Software still has a few members filtering back from holiday and with the addition of some new members (Oliver and Saksham) joining, we should have a interesting year ahead.

Simon Ireland, Rover Software Chapter Lead

A collage of images. Top left is a wooden prototype of the NUMBAT Rover with Bus PCBs laid out, right is a PCB, bottom left is testing a DC-DC converter for the BLUEtounge Rover and bottom right is a range of DC-DC converters.

From the Electrical Team

Its been a good start of the year. Altium training is on the way, and a few design projects have been proposed for the coming semester, including a pair of side module circuit boards and some optional ones such as power line filter and arm module boards. Work on power module and connector boards should be resumed shortly. There has also been a focus on DC-DC converters testing and renewal, both for BLUEtongue droving and NUMBAT construction.

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Chief Pilot

Rover Droving has finally started again after a hiatus, and we’ve have had a number people interested in Droving. Over the last few weeks, it has been particularly difficult to get the Rover to get started, and on 27 January, the step-up transformer from the power supply to the NUC was found to be busted. A new transformer has since been ordered and arrived, and if things go according to plan, we will start full-fledged from this month. Also, I plan to start breaking down the ERC rules into smaller tasks so we can practise them.

Sajid Anower, Rover Chief Pilot

SatelliteThe Stratospheric Balloon Payload, complete with sensor loggers, etc in an insulating container.

From the Stratospheric Balloon Team

This month was very productive for balloon team. All our subsystems, including a Raspberry Pi-based data-logger and radio-controlled separation mechanism, were completed and integrated. Ultra-low-temperature testing was conducted in a laboratory fridge set to -70C over the period of 30th-31st January in order to simulate stratospheric temperature conditions that will be experienced on a flight. This testing highlighted some weaknesses in our payload construction, such as power supplies not operating at low temperatures, and measures will be taken to remedy them. We had planned a launch for early February, but that has been pushed back to late February due to unforeseen circumstances not pertaining to our development.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Lead


From the Green Sat Team

Steady progress has been made on designing experiments for the biology team. With help from our friends at Flinders University we designed a incubator capable of controlling the intensity and wavelength of light available for a sample. This will give us valuable information about the on-board conditions required on the GreenSat and minimise the energy requirements of the payload.

Ben Koschnick, Greensat Squad LeadDeclan Walsh working on the dummy load.

From the Satellite Power Team

The satellite power team focussed on completing several prototype designs this month. The designs for a variable test load were finalised and the components ordered. Prototype designs of a Lithium battery charger were also completed with testing of the design to occur next month. Finally, testing of the teams power regulators in low temperatures was also undertaken in conjunction with balloon team.

Declan Walsh, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the Groundstation Team

Laser Communication

We have achieved transmission of:

  • Serial Data: Laser on/off is used to send binary data (1’s and 0’s). By reading the voltage across a photoresistor, we can obtain the binary data.
  • Audio Data: By controlling the voltage through the laser, we can control the intensity of the laser, which we can obtain analogue data.

We plan to improve on both systems to a point where we can implement either into a PCB.

Balloon Telemetry

Recently, the Groundstation team has partnered with the Balloon team to implement telemetry. We have decided to use a ‘Pi in the Sky’ telemetry board to send data from the payload which is received and processed by a ‘USRP SDR’. We will research how to use the ‘Pi in the Sky’ board over the coming weeks.

Joerick Aligno, Groundstation Squad LeadCAD rendering of a PCB for BLUEsat's ADCS v3

From the ADCS Team

Development of Reaction Wheel v3 is underway with 5 PCBs already designed. These boards contain the supporting hardware for the reaction wheel board, including power supply and regulation, an on-board computer (OBC), a data logging sensor board, an ADCS central hub and a mini groundstation for communicating to and commanding the reaction wheel while the experiment is in motion.

Mark Yeo, ADCS Squad Lead

Operations & Exec

Secretary’s Update

Its certainly been a busy start to the year. The main focus of the media and events team has been ramping up to o-week, and we have a lot planned for that with more to be finalised in the coming weeks!

We’ve also been trailing a new on-boarding approach where we will be running a structured session every three weeks rather than accepting new members every week. This came as a result of a survey we did last year on onboarding and our recruitment process and aims to help improve member retention in the first few months. It should also give our team leads more time to focus on their projects in between. A big thanks you to Taofiq for spearheading that project!

Our regular social evenings are going well, and we had a very successful “Jackbox Games” night a few weeks back after our Saturday workday.

Finally I’m very pleased to see the first release of our monthly updates and our email news letter! These should help improve awareness of the societies projects, recruit new members, and improve our internal communication between teams. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the following months.

Harry  J.E Day, Secretary

A CAD rendering of the NUMBAT Mars Rover in "space"

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