February 2019 Monthly Update

lecture hall with over 30 students, one guy standing at the front with his back to the camera and a projector light shines bright on top

Off-World Robotics

From the Rover Electrical Team

Green printed circuit board (PCB) in a see-through acrylic box

Work is being resumed or sped up as uni starts. There has been fantastic progress in the design of the power module, and several parts in the science module are either being ordered or tested. Coming up, we’ll have a comprehensive testing on our Generic PCB and CAN system, as well as the expected new arm project.

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Team Lead

From the Rover Software Team

OWRS has seen an uptick in work and involvement over the past month. We’re nearing completion of our long-term, major project to port the Robotics Operating System (ROS) communication system over to working on our CAN bus based rover architecture, as well as further work on our burgeoning autonomous system with developments on the data capture side.

Personnel-wise we’ve been working on infrastructure, with upgrades to our standard software development environment in the pipeline. And of course, there was also the recent intro-day, with a large number of interested students attending the software workshop, so we’ll be expecting a good turnout to the various workshops and seminars we have planned over the next month or so.

William Miles, Rover Software Chapter Lead

From the Rover Mechanical Team

We are back on track with our tasks, to start it up, we have decided to use an airshock suspension system for further stiffness control. Currently, there is research being done in our team on how to make the top plate of the chassis lighter and how to best split it up into multiple pieces. We also had a few new members joining during intro day and plan to run more workshops open to all BLUEsat members.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mech Team Lead

From the Drone Team

four guys from the drone team smiling, with a drone and papers on a desk between them

February kicked off to a fantastic start with the introduction of 3 new members to the team. Overall the month has been productive, with the near-completed development of two drones, although calibrating them for flight nearly had us ripping our hair out (we ended up deciding to leave it until next week). Beyond those two kit drones, the team has begun development of a brand new, in-house drone designed for autonomous landing. And in a fantastic twist of fate, our 3 new members are all computer scientists/software engineers, so it looks like it’ll be all hands on deck for the software part of the new drone for the next few months. One way or another, the term looks set to be a rollercoaster ride!

Lexman Palanirajan, Drone Squad Lead


From the Satellite CTO

6 weeks left until the Rocket Launch! 

In the meantime, we have welcomed a large number of new members this month, acquainted ourselves with the refurbished Electrical Building, and familiarised with the new 3+ schedule. Nonetheless, development is rapid and not without stress and setbacks. This was a jam-packed February, only to prepare us for the even crazier March. Hope and luck will without a doubt be needed, in accordance with the usual BLUEsat spirit. Merry days.

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO

small, antenna with a spring-like swirl in the middle standing on a table

From the Groundstation Team

The month of February in Groundstation has seen exciting progress made on the mobile groundstation project in collaboration with the HAB team. We have been working on software to receive and decode the APRS data required. With antennas and parts starting to arrive, the team looks forward into moving past the conceptual phase and into initial testing and prototype construction. We are now looking towards ensuring the suitability of our current design, making decisions for the mounts and radio, and working on the UI. 

Steffany Synge, Groundstation Squad Lead

From the CubeSat ADCS Team

February’s been a productive month for the ADCS team. We had the sensor board that we will use to test the magnetorquer produced, prepared for new members coming in with the new Uni year and started on our new mission for the AIAA launch. The AIAA launch is our top priority and as such, we’ve designed the schematic for our subsystem. We also continue to work on our single axis magnetorquer, by designing crucial experiments to test it. We’re looking forward to a March with even more done now that we’re back at uni.

Olivia Yem, ADCS Squad Lead

From the CubeSat Power Team

The Power team has been going strong over February. The control board has been confirmed to be working through I2C, fixing a soldering issue as well as reading successfully from its ports. The battery monitoring system has also been confirmed to be successfully measuring basic characteristics such as voltage, temperature, and battery capacity, and now will need to be tested with a load. The battery charging system itself is working successfully, able to deliver up to 1A of charging current. The regulation board has been having issues, but its scope has been narrowed down to a likely soldering issue and another board is being manufactured in the meantime. MPPT’s issue has also been narrowed down, but further testing will be required to validate the changes.

William Chen, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the CubeSat GreenSat Team

This month has been very fruitful for the GreenSat team, we have managed to recruit new team members and developed an elementary design of what is required. We are now working on manufacturability and system-integration for the upcoming launch in April.

Rajiv Narayan, GreenSat Squad Lead

From the High-Altitude Balloon Team

The team is currently expanding and bringing on board new, talented members. We have recruited undergraduate and postgraduate students who will be developing the various subsystems of the high-altitude pseudo-satellite platform. Jackson and Adi have been busy designing the architecture of the system, and are nearly ready to select and order critical parts, which are the onboard computer, communications module and power module. Work continues on the stabilisation system, with Jeffrey constructing a small-scale demonstrator using Arduino.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Team Lead

Secretary’s Update

lecture hall full of people, three guys at the front presenting near a projector

February has been a fantastic month for BLUEsat!!

We had our major new member intro day which was probably the best one we’ve had so far! We split up our workshops based on disciplines and skills you would learn that could be applicable to most if not all of our teams – with a software, electrical and mechanical workshop as these are the major technical disciplines our projects involve (but are not limited to, as we have aspects of telecommunications, media, design, business, commerce and more!) I was extremely pleased with our progress on improving our workshops, presentation and recruitment strategies, and we’re excited to continue to get feedback and improve to make this experience better for everyone!

As far as the exciting things we have coming up, our CubeSat (Satellite) teams have been collaborating with AIAA Rocketry and BioSphere at UNSW in preparation for the
Australian Universities Rocket Competition (AURC) in April, where our CubeSat subsystems would be tested on AIAA’s rocket, launched for the competition, as well as testing the biological experiment our friends at BioSphere have been working on with our GreenSat team. We’re also going to be at the Student Project Fair on the 13th of March, where we will present a short summary of who we are and what we do, showcase some of our projects and talk to academics and industry about our work! We will also continue our beloved tradition of board games nights as well as another new member on-boarding session later in March. If any UNSW students are interested in joining, please fill in our expression of interest form to get information about this session.

Anita Smirnov, 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: 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.

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