August 2018 Monthly Update

BLUEsat has had yet another incredible month; with great success at our first Showcase event, the formation of our Outreach team, UNSW Open day shenanigans and great progress in all our teams! On other exciting news, our Rover team is leaving for Poland in under a week for the European Rover Challenge (ERC)! The Groundstation team has begun work on a new project involving Doppler-based tracking. The CubeSat team has also made some great progress, with ADCS working on a detumbling algorithm and designing a PCB, and successful battery chargers made and tested by the Power team.


From the Rover CTO

The team is leaving for Poland in just 1 week’s time! We are all extremely excited and are looking forward to some great results. Make sure to follow our progress on the Facebook page and cheer us on.

Thomas Renneberg, Robotics CTO

From the Software TeamBLUEsat Rover Science Module

The software team has been finalising various components in preparation for the upcoming competition. Calibrations for our SLAM system are ongoing, whilst multiple training and test runs of the rover have allowed us to fine tune the control system our operators use. The team is also finalising the I2C communication for the science module sensors so that it can be fully integrated into the system.

We have also been busy introducing and integrating new members into the team, with workshops on ROS and our agile workflow running most Saturdays of the previous month. This is promising growth and should help in the continued formalisation of our team structure and procedures.

William Miles, Rover Software Chapter Lead

From the Mechanical Team

The mechanical team last month has finished all the required systems for the rover in preparation for the coming challenge, including the mounting and gimbal system, arm-span expansion, the rover’s handle and the science module.

For next year’s challenge, the team has already started researching and improving the rover. In particular, the new arm already has its first design. Our senior members also ran some manufacturing workshops for BLUEsat members, most notably the 3D printing workshop.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mechanical Chapter Lead

From the Electrical TeamBLUEsat's advanced RF apparatus in an anechoic environment

We have come a long way in the last 31 days and nights with lots of ups and downs. We started off with some fruitful soldering sessions, through which we have got 4 more Generic PCBs up and running. Thanks to the kind support from Timothy Guo in the Satellite team, we have completed comprehensive testings on the radio communication system with advanced RF apparatus in an anechoic environment. The month was concluded by a successful arm operation over controller area network with joint efforts from all 3 teams.

We have also heard great news from the science squad, where Jessica Li successfully got all the sensors working with a Generic PCB. After a bit of work on the science module PCB, we should be able to take on some scientific tasks in the competition.

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Chief Pilot

The ERC Away team has started outdoor rover training with proper camera navigation and co-pilot driving. Weekly rover training sessions have now been extended to four hours each day, with at least one outdoor session every week until the team flies to Poland.

Sajid Anower, Rover Chief Pilot


From the Groundstation Team

The Groundstation team recently began a new project in the software-defined radio (SDR Stream). We have been given the task to assist with Doppler-based tracking. The project entails receiving the raw signal from the EC0 (at 436.525 MHz) and saving the data without any modulation, filtering or any processing to ensure we capture the Doppler shift. The team has developed a program that will save the data in question into a .wav file, we have yet to test the program.

Joerick Aligno, Groundstation Squad Lead

From the Satellite Power Team

The power team has finally completed testing on its battery chargers and with good news – it works! The battery monitoring system components have arrived and now the last step is to manufacture and test it. Our next steps are to integrate all the subsystems we have created so far into a single board which is a complete system.

William Chen, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the ADCS Team

The ADCS team has been working on writing a detumbling algorithm and designing a PCB for the satellite. The detumbling program has been split into parts and written by different people. Three out of four parts have been completed, with the fourth underway. The PCB design is in progress, with custom schematic parts and footprints being made in Kicad. As it stands, all planned custom parts have been made and the schematic has been started.

Olivia Yem, ADCS Squad Lead

From the GreenSat Team

GreenSat now has a new task at hand. With the biology team now attaining a lab and having a supply stream of rhizobacteria, with already defined limitations the need for an incubator has now come to a close. The GreenSat team is now planning out how to build the actual vessel that the bacteria will be stored in for the CubeSat.

Rajiv Narayan, GreenSat Squad Lead

From the High-Altitude Balloon Team

The HAB team has begun preliminary design of our high-altitude platform (HAP). We have begun corresponding with the researchers in Italy to determine basic requirements for their radar, like power and dimensions.

I will be designing the HAP bus, which includes power modules and onboard computers, as well as interfaces. Jeffrey will be designing control systems to stabilise the SAR antenna against gondola motion. Emma is in charge of the mechanical design of the HAP, which will include structure and materials. Timothy will be managing the radio communications and tracking of the HAP while in flight.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Lead

Operations & Exec

Secretary’s Update

It’s been another fantastic month for BLUEsat!

BLUEsat Showcase
UNSW BLUEsat Showcase Event. Photo by Ryan Stuart Photography

We had our first ever Showcase, which allowed UNSW students and other interested people to find out more about our society and the various projects we do. It went really well, with interesting stalls showcasing our projects and great presentations from our team leads, as well as special talks from Mark Hoffman, the Dean of Engineering at UNSW, and our academic supervisor Elias Abountanious. (Special thanks to the student opportunities team at UNSW for helping organise the event!)

Another new member orientation day brought BLUEsat some new faces of passionate students ready to learn, with a fun board games night that followed as usual.

BLUEsat’s Media and Events team has expanded this month, with the formation of our School Outreach team. The team has begun organising and getting started with planning workshops for high school students to help increase their interest in STEM activities and engineering. We plan to collaborate with UNSW’s AIAA Rocketry Team on these workshops and encourage more inter-society collaboration within the university as well!

This Saturday, for UNSW’s Open day, BLUEsat members helped out at two stalls. In the first, they were telling people about BLUEsat along other Student-Led Project stalls. At the other stall, we ran soldering workshops, where interested people could make their own electronic dice kit with a small battery and LEDs to replicate a standard playing die.

Overall, this has been a very busy yet rewarding month.

Anita Smirnov, Secretary

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Author: Anita Smirnov

Anita Smirnov is a second year Mechatronic Engineering student with an interest in combining her passions for robotics and art. Before her role as Secretary 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.