June 2018 Monthly Update

Connector board array on the NUMBAT rover

It has been another busy month at BLUEsat. Progress has been made with the NUMBAT rover in our Off-World Robotics Team, with work on connector boards, PCBs, the suspension system and a variety of new software features. The old BLUEtongue rover has been fixed and ready for use in rover driving sessions. The Satellite team has been hard at work too, with the recreation of a transmission module for the USRP in the Groundstation Team and new PCB designs for lithium batteries being ready for testing in the Power Team. The ADCS team is finishing the development of the reaction wheel system and shifting focus, and GreenSat has made progress in finalizing the design for the first prototype for a payload environment and establishing communication with BioSphere among other things.


From the Electrical Team

Connector board array on the NUMBAT roverHaving finished the preliminary testing of the core PCBs, we started marching towards the final stage of the electrical system assembly – building connector board arrays and under-rover wiring. Despite some minor setbacks, we managed to fit the first six connector boards into the front compartment, as well as a pair of side-module boards. Ongoing is the upgrade of the power module and manufacture of more PCBs. Progress has also been made in the science module, with all the sensors collected and member embarking on the circuit design. We look forward to the final appearance of the electrical system as the competition is fast approaching!

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Mechanical Team

The team has been working hard on finishing the rovers mechanical tasks, in particular finalizing the design for our revised suspension system. Work has also begun on converting the mechanical arm from the BLUEtongue rover to work on our new modular platform. We hope to have this module up and running in the next few weeks for testing so stay tuned.

Thomas Renneberg, Robotics CTO & Mech Chapter Lead

From the Software Team

The exam period always offers a moment of distraction, but the OWR software chapter powered on. A variety of features are entering testing and review before they are merged into the codebase such as a third steering system, ADC library in hardware, software emergency stop on the GUI and the CAN bus implementation that forms the backbone of NUMBAT.

As the competition nears and the university break meets us, we are striving to implement features, train and test to ensure success at the competition. The arrival of new members after the exam period has bolstered our numbers and has helped us begin working on the I²C library in hardware.

Simon Ireland, Rover Software Chapter Lead

From the Chief PilotBLUEtongue rover fixed and running (for the off-world robotics team)

Some members of the Rover team set aside some time to work on the old rover Bluetongue, and they have successfully managed to fix the issues. Just last week, the ERC team practised basic rover driving, setting everything up from scratch and charging the batteries. Weekly rover driving sessions will now take place as the team prepares for the upcoming competition.

Sajid Anower, Rover Chief Pilot


From the Satellite CTO

Exams are over and the Satellite team is back in action. We are reviewing our mission plan and getting ready to represent BLUEsat at the upcoming ACSER CubeSat Workshop.

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO

From the Groundstation Team

Using previous knowledge from the SDR work done last year, we recreated a basic transmission module for the USRP. We can transmit real-time sound data from microphones and sound files stored on the computer. We can then receive this data using a hand-held radio or even another SDR device. However, it is unknown how to get reception and transmission operating simultaneously which will need to be tested and developed for over the coming weeks.

Joerick Aligno, Groundstation Squad Lead

From the Satellite Power Team

Two new PCB designs for lithium chargers have been assembled and are ready for testing. The total number of charging designs being concurrently evaluated is now three, each based on different charging solution chips. They will be compared against each other to determine their performance and suitability to BLUEsat satellite power needs. The MPPT project for solar panels has been temporarily shelved as both members working on it are going on exchange, but we hope to revive it in the near future as the project has been extensively documented so work can be continued upon it in future.

William Chen, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the ADCS Team

Development of the reaction wheel system is wrapping up, and the ADCS team is now shifting their focus towards developing a magnetorquer-based ADCS. Back in 2015, a proof-of-concept model was constructed back to demonstrate detumbling, but the project was shelved shortly after. This project has now been revived, with efforts focused on developing a CubeSat-ready magnetorquer-based ADCS contained on a single PCB.

Mark Yeo, ADCS Squad Lead

From the GreenSat Team

Due to some mishaps with the biology section of our group we have been working hard on establishing communication with BioSphere and making sure the requirements for the payloads environment variables are still consistent with what we had before. We have made great progress with finishing our design for the first prototype of our payload environment, and have also been working hard on the electrical components, namely the power supply and the control circuits for our sensors.

Rajiv Narayan, Greensat Team Member

Operations & Exec

Secretary’s UpdateAmateur Radio Workshop Presentation at BLUEsat

It’s been another great month for BLUESat, with new members joining our ranks and getting started on tasks in the various teams. Radio workshops have begun to run to help interested BLUEsat members obtain amateur standard and advanced radio licenses. The board games night was a great success as usual, but look out for future events where we’re thinking of mixing things up! Speaking of other events, the end of semester celebration last Saturday went really well and may become a recurring event in the future.

Anita Smirnov, Secretary

President’s Update

June was a fantastic month for BLUEsat, and July has much more exciting events in store for us to look forward to!

A few of our members will be presenting at the CubeSat Innovation Workshop hosted by ACSER in early July. It will be an event with the aim to share results and news of current missions, plans for future missions and other ideas. There will be a multitude of wonderful presentations from current missions, government, academia start-ups as well as student projects to look forward to!

A few members will also be attending the Aerospace Futures 2018 Conference in Canberra hosted by the Australian Youth Aerospace Association in mid-July. It is a 3-day event, with a fantastic schedule consisting of a myriad of prestigious industry speakers and focuses on targeting undergraduates, postgraduates and young professionals to attend and celebrate the Australian aerospace industry. Over the course of three days, there will be a variety of events including presentations from some of the biggest figures within the Australian Space Sector, a showcase of space systems, Ariel and Ground exhibitions, various challenges and many more.

Raghav Hariharan, President

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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: 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.

Author: Raghav Hariharan

Raghav Hariharan is currently in his second year studying Mechatronics combined with Computer Science. He was previously the Arc Delegate until he was elected for the role of president in May of 2018. He is extremely curious about the wonders and mysteries of space and is determined to share his passion and provide an opportunity for students to learn and develop their professional and academic skills whilst studying.