June 2019 Monthly Update

Off-World Robotics


Rover Software

The Off-World Robotic Software team has been finishing up an internal restructuring this month, moving from having a central team lead delegating all tasks, to a squad based structure, with leads for specific projects, and the software lead being a higher level organisational role.

Regarding said projects, the ROS over CAN project, our port of the Robotics Operating System to our embedded systems and their communication bus, has finally reached the point where it’s ready to be fully placed onto the rover. This will provide us with a reliable and simple interface for communication between our embedded and higher level systems.

We’ve also started testing our autonomous systems, with several attempts at autonomous navigation. These attempts have not been very successful as of yet, but have been providing us with valuable experience that we hope will allow us to have a reliable system up and running in time for the European Rover Challenge.

William Miles, Rover Software Lead

6 people and a rover outside on concrete

Rover Electrical

While getting used to the new trimester that started this month the Rover Electrical team started the process of bi-weekly stand-ups which has aided inter-project integration. Otherwise over the past month the whole team has been working on preparing and soldering up the generic PCB’s due to how component heavy the boards are. With the new current protection system and wiring for the arm finalised we await the parts to come through to start on getting it functioning in the coming month. 

Jason Love, Rover Elec Chapter Lead

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 allow us to rapid prototyping and components-making more easily.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mech Chapter Lead


With the start of the trimester, the team was back together in full force, with the development of the Mk 3 Drone’s image recognition (IR) software well underway. And since the ordered parts have started to trickle in, the development of the CAD chassis model, along with a machining model has begun. The hardware team has started to prototype the chassis design using laser-cut wood to finalise the design before the final model is built using the 3D printer. Over the course of the coming month, the drone chassis will be assembled and its flight capabailities tested before the installation of the IR software.

Lexman Palanirajan, Drone Lead

4 people and a drone


CubeSat – ADCS

This month has seen the start of our second trimester and a good deal of meetings for all the satellite teams. We’ve taken this time to reflect on our satellite launch and evaluate where we can do better. To this end, the ADCS team has been focusing on learning new technical skills and improving our design process. We are preparing to test the single axis magnetorquer by designing a new sensor board to log data, as our previous sensor board donated parts for the satellite launch.

Olivia Yem, CubeSat ADCS Squad Lead

CubeSat – GreenSat

This month we have made some conclusions on how we would like to proceed with developing skills that we lacked in the previous launch. We have come up with a rough outline to create our own evaluation board and to enhance our programming skills.

Rajiv Narayan, CubeSat GreenSat Squad Lead

CubeSat – Power

Power is working on a new iteration of all its subsystems. This involves developing 2 or 3 different solutions to each module of the subsystem in parallel, and evaluating and picking the best solution out of them. We are currently in the phase of researching and putting the schematic on to kicad.

William Chen, CubeSat Power 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 (pictured), where all members presented about the projects that they have been working on, as well as their future direction.

Adithya Rajendran, High Altitude Balloon Squad Lead

7 people in a meeting with a projector screen, one person at the front presenting and moving the meeting along


Groundstation has spent this month re-evaluating and reassessing the future direction needed with our current design. We have decided that more research will need to be undertaken on the RF end, which will serve both to increase our understandings and either validate our existing design, or otherwise justify a need for changing our current antenna. Meanwhile, the Groundstation software has started entering a new stage of development, with progress being made in the flight prediction software. Finally, a push for improved communications, documentation, and procedural definitions is also being made in preparation for both the next launch and for the coming term.

Victor Tse, Groundstation Squad Lead

Secretary’s Update

Around the middle of June, a few of our members represented BLUEsat and showed off our projects at a Girls in STEM event at Accenture, where we showed how our ADCS system works, displayed our satellite and drone, and let students have a go at driving our Mars rover! We’ve also been doing more spontaneous events this month, with more board game nights and rounds of handball.

Anita Smirnov, Secretary

7 people playing handball

Arc Delegate’s Update

BLUEsat’s safety team has been formally established, comprised of five safety administrators individually responsible for the the five major projects (Rover, Drone, Satellite, High Altitude Balloon, and Groundstation). The team has met with the Makerspace Technical Officer and the first set of Risk Management Forms have been submitted for each project. For the time being this team will be managed by the Arc Delegate.

The Arc Student Community & Development Grant has been submitted for round three, on behalf of the Rover team for the European Rover Challenge this September.

Steven Watts, Arc Delegate

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.

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