July 2019 Monthly Update

Off-World Robotics


Rover Software

The Off-World Robotics Software team has been continuing preparations for the now close-at-hand European Rover Challenge; we were involved in preparing for and filming the rover as part of the lead up to the challenge, and the software systems performed admirably.

The autonomous squad has been continuing their work with AR-tag based localisation and we believe it will be one of the key components in our autonomous navigation efforts.

The recently created interface squad has been continuing to familiarise themselves with the existing code-base and ecosystem used for operating the rover, and we expect some significant improvements in that area in the near future.

William Miles, Rover Software Lead

Rover Electrical

Over the past month the Rover Electrical team has focused on getting the arm up and running, with new wiring solutions,  in time for the video. Along with this we have installed the new connector boards which will have CAN twisted pair cabling tapped underside, bringing a significant upgrade to our signal transmissions. For the next month as we prep for the European Rover Challenge we also look forward to rewiring the module boxes when the new ones come in, especially getting the science module refurbished.

Jason Love, Rover Elec Chapter Lead

The new PCBs on the rover’s chassis

Rover Mechanical

It’s been a busy month of the team with a lot of components and structures being designed and manufactured. Namely, the wheels have been fully manufactured and suspension is just a few more days from being assembled. Also, a 3D printer has arrived which allowed us to do rapid prototyping and make components more easily.

The Rover Mech team has been doing a lot of manufacturing in the past month. Namely, modifications of the arm were fully manufactured; the chassis has been modified to reduce weight and the new suspension system has been assembled.

In 2 weeks time, the chassis will be further modified to reduce more weight and all unfinished system will be completed

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mech Chapter Lead


Over the past month the Drone team has continued work on the Mk 3 Drone, and are currently waiting on raw build materials to laser print the chassis and mechanically test the design. The software team has been hard at work on developing the SLAM and interfacing technology for the drone. The team is still on track for a Term 3 delivery timeline.

Lexman Palanirajan, Drone Lead


CubeSat – Power

Power team has been laying out the PCBs for each submodule. We have encountered some issues with our initially planned KiCad-with-Git implementation of team collaboration. However, we solved the issue by using KiCad’s append board feature. We are delayed by a week from our initially planned schedule but we are still on track to accomplish this project by the end of this term.

William Chen, CubeSat Power Squad Lead

CubeSat – ADCS

The ADCS team has been continuing with their good work over the past month, completing construction of the single axis magnetorquer (despite some unforeseen issues) and laying out the PCB design for the sensor board. By the end of next month, we should be in the position to carry out our first tests on the magnetorquer.

Olivia Yem, CubeSat ADCS Squad Lead

CubeSat – GreenSat

Unfortunately things have not been going to plan with the evaluation board not set to be completed by the due date of the gerber files. Although we have been making steady progress in learning various aspects of PCB design and the intricacies involved with routing and component placement.

Rajiv Narayan, CubeSat GreenSat Squad Lead


The month the Groundstation team has worked on re-evaluating the link budget, developing a simulation model in 4nec2 for an eggbeater antenna, and re-development of an audio cable for interfacing our radio to a laptop. Progress has also been made on getting ASTRA working for our flight simulation software and on the generation of offline contour maps. As next steps, Groundstation will be looking to add in telemetry support for the Balloon team’s communications module over the next month.

Victor Tse, Groundstation Squad Lead

High Altitude Ballooning

This has been a huge month for the balloon team. The month kicked off with a small HAB launch to test our stabilisation subsystem, which produced some results on the effectiveness of the control algorithms, and a review was then conducted to improve the efficiency of launches for the future to allow for more frequent missions with less paperwork. Furthermore, Jeffrey and I completed our project-related Honours theses, with the results of to be incorporated into the BalSAR project. Finally, the month concluded with a full-team review meeting, where all members presented about the projects that they have been working on, as well as their future direction.

The team has been busy as usual. The launch mechanism team was assembled from existing members to develop a rig to hold and inflate the large balloon that will be used on the SAR mission. Elias assisted with the review of a potential design.

Victor, Jackson and I met with (soon-to-be Dr) Benjamin Southwell to consult him about our software architecture. The meeting was very helpful in determining issues with the current architecture that need to be resolved before ordering parts and recruiting members.

A recruitment drive was initiated to bring on board experienced software, electrical and mechanical students to drive the development of the rest of the project and bring the architecture to life. There have been many expressions of interest for all positions, and interviews will now be conducted to onboard new members and assign responsibilities as soon as possible.

Adithya Rajendran, High Altitude Balloon Squad Lead

Secretary’s Update

This month we had an exciting event in collaboration with Prosto Cosmos, a Russian space education agency with the aim of popularising space education around the world. The event began with Alla Razuvaeva, the company’s Managing Director, giving a presentation about their various programs, involving a zero-gravity program, a 3 day “become an astronaut” program and a 6 day tour to space related locations around Russia, such as astronaut training sites, rocket launch sites (getting to see the prelaunch stages of a rocket), Yuri Gagarin’s aircraft and home and more. Alla then explained more in detail about the training astronauts have to undertake, that it requires almost 10 years of training to prepare an astronaut for space, and that anyone who travels to space must learn how to speak in both English and Russian.

After the presentation, we had the amazing opportunity to talk to a real life cosmonaut – Sergei Revin!! He spent almost a third of 2012 in space at the international space station and offered some insight on his experience. We live-streamed this Skype call and you can watch it here if you like:

Call with a Cosmonaut – Sergei Revin

We're having a Skype call Q&A with Russian cosmonaut Sergei Revin, tune in soon!

BLUEsat UNSW 发布于 2019年7月23日周二
Skype call with Sergei Revin, a Russian cosmonaut

We also had another fun board games night and are working on improving our training and on-boarding processes to help new members settle into the society as well as improving the skill set of our members!

Anita Smirnov, Secretary

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.

Leave a Reply