April 2018 Monthly Update


It’s been another busy month at BLUEsat UNSW. This month’s major achievements include our breakthrough with the steering module of the NUMBAT rover, the creation of a successful SDR radio player in the groundstation team and progress on a new magnetorquer project in the ADCS team!


From the Rover CTO

It’s been a fantastic Month for the team and we have reached some major milestones. Earlier this month we received our results for our ERC proposal submission scoring an impressive 24/25. Since then the team have been working hard to put together the preliminary design review document.

We also have been awarded a large grant from the NSW Government of the Chief Scientist and Engineer towards our rover. We hope to put this generous donation to good use.

Thomas Renneberg, Robotics CTO & Mech Chapter Lead

From the Electrical Team

This month we continued our work on a few of the PCBs. After verification of its correct working and some initial configurations last month, the testing of the Generic PCB was handed over to the software members, who have developed working codes for the driving system. In the next phase, bulk production and further testing will be carried out. Progress has also been made in the science module and drive module PCB, which includes finalisation on major design requirements and some research into circuit design. Beyond these, we have also come up with the preliminary wiring scheme of the rover electrical system. Following this, improvements in the power delivery and grounding will be made as the next step.

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Software Team

Another wonderful month for rover software has seen a breakthrough in testing and operating the new steering module for NUMBAT. In the process, we have also been able to verify other fundamental systems, namely embedded libraries and embedded-CAN implementation.

Elsewhere, progress has been made with altering the ROS library for the Linux-side of our ROS-over-CAN implementation, a lovely collection of GUI widgets/featurettes are in the works and development of the manipulator arm control system has begun!

Simon Ireland, Rover Software Chapter Lead

From the Mechanical Team

The mechanical team has been working on small updates to the rovers suspension system, replacing the old version with our newer, more rigid design. We have also been putting together a prototype of our mechanical manipulator arm and our science module.

Thomas Renneberg, Robotics CTO & Mechanical Chapter Lead

From the Chief Pilot

The older BLUEtongue rover is still under maintenance. We are in the process of debugging the steering system after replacing one of the motors and the arms movement. Some small calibrations to the system are underway to allow us to keep training and testing this coming month.

Sajid Anower, Rover Chief Pilot


From the ADCS Team

In the Reaction Wheel System project, the manufacturing and programming of electronics are just wrapping up, ready for integration and testing of the RWS during the following weeks.

We also have a new magnetorquer project that’s just coming out of the research phase and is now looking to implement a magnetorquer-based ADCS on a CubeSat PCB!

Mark Yeo, ADCS Squad Lead

From the Groundstation Team

Progress has been made in implementing the receive subsystem into the new SDR groundstation.

We have successfully created an SDR radio player, capable of receiving FM radio station emissions (commercial radio stations) and playing the audio. This code can be altered to use the data in different ways, for example saving the audio into a .wav file and outputting to a file, which will be used in later stages to process the data.

We will attempt to receive satellite signals using the current code when there is a pass.

Joerick Aligno, Groundstation Squad Lead

From the High Altitude Balloon Team

The HAB team at BLUEsat kicked off April by initiating new members in the workings of a high-altitude balloon mission.

Data and pictures from the recent flight were analysed. Studying the motion data, like in the attached image, will provide an understanding needed to design separation, stabilisation and parachute deployment systems.

The month concluded with a full team meeting, including with our supervisor Elias, where team lead Adithya set out the expected goals and milestones for the next launch.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Lead

From the Satellite Power Team

The past month has seen further progress in the power system of the CubeSat.

Within the separate subsystems, there are a few updates since last month. Slow but steady progress is being made to debug the MPPT (Maximum power point tracking) system.

Debugging is continuing for one of the battery charging systems and one of the other competing designs has its PCB ready to print and its components have been ordered. The thermal subsystem is in its infancy and potential components are being researched. A CAD model has also been drawn up and can be seen in the attached photos.

Harry Price, Satellite Power Squad Lead

BLUEsat Operations & Exec

Secretary’s Update

Its been a busy month for the society with progress across all our teams. On the social events side we’ve had more successful board games nights, whilst from an outreach perspective, we have some interesting things planned for next semester. We will also hopefully be organising team merch soon.

We will be holding an EGM in the near future so some roles will be changing hands, including mine as I graduate at the end of the semester. Consequently, this will probably be my last monthly update as secretary. Its been great and I wish good luck to the incoming executive!

Harry  J.E Day, Secretary

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Author: Anita Smirnov

Anita Smirnov is a third year Mechatronic Engineering student with an interest in combining her passions for robotics and art. Before her role as Secretary and Media and Events Coordinator of the society, Anita was and still is involved in the software team of BLUEsat's Off-World Robotics Division, as well as helping manage BLUEsat's social media.

Author: Thomas Renneberg

Thomas Renneberg is a 4th-year Mechanical Engineering student at UNSW. Thomas assumed the Off-World Robotics CTO position after a year of being the mechanical team lead and laying the foundation for BLUEsat's new rover. Aside from developing BLUEsat's new rover "NUMBAT", Thomas enjoys cooking and maintaining his vegetable garden.

Author: Harry J.E Day

Harry J.E Day is a long term member of BLUEsat, with a keen interest in robotics and distributed systems. Harry has been involved with BLUEsat UNSW for four years, primarily as part of the Off-World Robotics Division including two and a half as the rover software team lead, as well as a year as the society's secretary. Harry studied B Computer Science at UNSW Sydney.