April 2019 Monthly Update

Off-World Robotics

From the OWR CTO

April has been a quiet month for the rover and drone teams as members focus on the final stretch of the trimester. The teams focused on design reviews and part orders as our projects mature, paving the way for more substantial manufacturing and prototyping in the coming month.

Bohan Deng, Off-World Robotics CTO


two people smiling, crouching by the rover (robot on wheels)

Rover Software

Things have been settling down for the Off-World Robotics Software team this past month. The newer members who joined at the start of the trimester have been getting into the flow of things and we’ve not been too rushed as we’re waiting on a number of projects from the Electrical and Mechanical teams to near completion.

There has however been good progress with our ROS over CAN project and we’re nearly ready to deploy it at full force on the rover for testing. On top of this, the autonomous systems team has been integrating more sensors into our systems, and we’re on track for half-decent localisation and some autonomous operation for the 2019 ERC.

William Miles, Rover Software Chapter Lead

Rover Elec

A slow month for Rover Elec team, with members focusing on major assignments and theses. That said, a steady progression of research is being done for getting the new arm and drill modules functional. The re-iteration of the CAN & connector boards is also coming along, having finalised some design requirements in regards to the twisted pair cabling.

Jason Love, Rover Elec Chapter Lead

Rover Mech

This month was a slow month for the Mech team due to course work. The team has however decided to focus on improving the old arm for the competition starting with changing the claw design and module box. With that being said, the new arm is still on track. Th suspension design is being studied so we can upgrade our suspension system for the competition in September.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mech Chapter Lead


It’s been pretty slow this month for the drone team. The team has been finishing up the Mark 2 Drone after the ordered parts finally got in. The team has also finalised the parts order list for the Mark 3 Drone. The team plans to finish off the hardware and software side of the Mark 3 Drone over the coming months, but progress will be slow due to the exam/holiday period. 

Lexman Palanirajan


From the Satellite CTO

12 people smiling

This month, our collaborative project with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) UNSW and BioSphere, was launched at the Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC). Over the 5 days, a representative group of 19 students and our supervisor Emily Baldock participated in the competition held in Westmar Queensland, competing with 18 other Universities!

The launch was a memorable experience with a mixture of successes and failures. The team has come home with invaluable knowledge and learning, and our next step is to rest, plan and improve.

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO


CubeSat – Power

Although the power module worked for the satellite launch, the mission exposed some flaws in the reliability of the design. The team will be working towards redesigning aspects of the design, such as moving away from QFP packaged chips, which are hard to hand-solder and test, towards pinned chips. The team will also be looking at simplifying the current design into a smaller and more efficient module.

William Chen, CubeSat Power Squad Lead

CubeSat – ADCS

After a flurry of activity to get ready for the launch on the 17th of April, the ADCS team is taking a well-deserved breather. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on using the data we gathered from the launch to define more concrete performance parameters as well as calculating variables for our control system. Once we have the performance parameters, we’ll be focusing on testing our current magnetorquer to find areas of improvement before making sure that it can function in space.

Olivia Yem, CubeSat ADCS Squad Lead

CubeSat – GreenSat

After the collaboration with AIAA, we are now taking a break and looking forward to creating a satellite that will meet the standards for space. There have been several technical issues that have arisen due to integration issues and we are looking to formulate a better plan to prevent situations in system integration to occur. We are also looking forward to working with Radian for creating a thermal management system to meet the requirements of our payload!

Rajiv Narayan, CubeSat GreenSat Squad Lead

15 people in a room for a meeting

High Altitude Balloon

The balloon team members have been very busy in development of the BalSAR high-altitude radar platform. A design meeting was arranged for the entire team of 15, as well as Ground Station team, where each sub-team presented updates on their projects. Dr Elias Aboutanios was present to provide valuable insights and feedback. The team then went out to lunch together to socialise and bond. Each project has been working on a Preliminary Design Review report, which will be due in early May. The team is getting bigger and more skilled, and details of technical development will be published in future blog posts!

Adithya Rajendran, High Altitude Balloon Squad Lead


This month has been somewhat quiet for Groundstation, with members disappearing in and out due to exams and assignments. Nonetheless, progress has been made on the UI, with an early prototype in the works for an offline map with path drawing functionality. In addition, our design documentation has been updated to its latest version to assist with budgeting and timelining plans for negotiation with the Balloon team. Finally, in recent weeks, further progress into antenna research has also been done. This has led us into an exciting new area with assessing the viability of using QFH and eggbeater antennas, and their possible mount designs.

Victor Tse, Groundstation Squad Lead

Want to keep up to date with BLUEsat UNSW? Stay tuned by subscribing to our monthly newsletter!

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: Bohan Deng

Bohan Deng is a third year Aerospace Engineering student at UNSW Sydney who loves anything to do with space. Prior to taking up the Arc Delegate position, he was involved in developing the new 'NUMBAT' rover.

Author: Timothy Guo

Timothy Guo is a Telecommunications and Commerce undergraduate at UNSW Sydney. He has previously lead BLUEsat's groundstation squad, leading a team of engineers to provide communications to UNSW's satellite, the EC0. He now endeavours to lead BLUESat's satellite tribe towards even greater plans.

Leave a Reply