May 2019 Monthly Update

Off-World Robotics

From the OWR CTO

May has been a significant month for Rover as teams finalise their designs and begin ordering parts. A Preliminary Design Report for the European Rover Challenge has also been completed, and trip planning is underway. 

Bohan Deng, OWR CTO


Rover Electrical

Three people carrying a rover (robot on wheels)
Rover members moving the rover during a testing/training session

While waiting for many orders to come in, this month the team has focused on three areas: designing a new current protection system for the arm, refurbishing the rover wiring, and admin matters like stock-take. With the awaited orders arriving all together at the end of the month the team is currently looking to have a heavy upcoming month of soldering and PCB testing.

Jason Love, Rover Elec Chapter Lead

Rover Mechanical

After exams, team is rushing to get components done. The wheels now will be redone by replacing the cage design with 3 wheelbarrow wheels on each of them for further traction and integrity. The chassis might be slightly changed to further suited the new suspension. The arm is now more rigid than before and it’s a rush to get it fully assembled before mid of June.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mech Chapter Lead

Rover Software

9 people standing in a small room with projects around them like a satellite frame and a rover arm

The Off-World Robotics Software (OWRS) team has seen steady work during May. We’ve also had more new members coming in and have been in the process of trialing new recruitment methods. These have seen moderate success, and we hope to be able to establish a dedicated squad focused on our operational interface with these new members.

The autonomous traversal and manipulation squad has reached a point where it has started testing sensors and systems on the rover. This is the first year that the OWRS team has a had a dedicated autonomous squad, and we have high hopes for more success with it at the next European Rover Challenge (ERC).

With ERC coming closer, we’ve also increased our testing schedule and have been rooting out a number of issues both within the software systems and the rover as a whole.

William Miles, Rover Software Lead


Decent progress has been made over the holidays as the team has been slowly receiving parts for the Mk 3 drone, while working on the Mk 2 drone to be flight-ready. Over the next month, the team is looking to complete the Mk 3 drone build and optimise the Mk 2 drone’s flight capability.

Lexman Palanirajan, Drone Lead


From the Satellite CTO

Balloon and Groundstation have reached their coming of age, to show the fruits of this year’s hard labour. This is the first collaboration between the two teams and the journey has been a series of challenges and tests. From endless meetings and long days to develop systems, the end results will be put to the test on a balloon mission. We are hoping for the best in outcomes of our developed systems and are proud of our team no matter the result.

Meanwhile, with the Satellite team, May has been a month of debriefing on the previous term and planning for the term that is to come. We have begun implemented new systems in the hopes to improve our organisation including an inventory system and cleaning our current room we use for work. Additionally, our meetings have determined a need for better organisation on our documentation platforms and a need for greater community culture. This will mean small changes to the format of both work and social time. We hope to provide updates next time on the progress of the changes.

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO


CubeSat – Power

Power team, along with the rest of the satellite teams have been debriefing from the last 3 months of frantic work. We are also planning for the future 3 months, a hopefully very productive 3 months.

William Chen, CubeSat Power Squad Lead

CubeSat – ADCS

The ADCS team has made it through the gamut of exams and the end of the first trimester and are ready to begin work on the next satellite mission. We will be focusing on evaluating our design and improving our documentation.

Olivia Yem, CubeSat ADCS Squad Lead

CubeSat – GreenSat

GreenSat has been through some discussions with the other satellite teams mainly, ADCS and power and has concluded that they may be a big overhaul in its purpose, specifically regarding BioSphere. Though not concluded and in its preliminary stages we will consider the aim in the recent weeks.

Rajiv Narayan, CubeSat GreenSat Squad Lead


an antenna inside a testing room with pyramid-shaped foam along the walls, tested by our groundstation squad
Antenna Testing

Groundstation has been busy preparing for the first test for the mobile groundstation at the June 1st balloon launch. We completed further tests with our antennas in the anechoic chamber to determine their radiation patterns and obtain more quantitative data. This information was then further corroborated in a long distance communications test held last Saturday between Collaroy and Avalon. Progress was made to the software with the inclusion of a command line interface and setting up an offline tile map server to integrate with the UI team. We fixed a problem with the Yaesu power switch by rewiring a different set of contacts and also discovered the 430 MHz socket had damage from a while back, which was bent back into an n-type connector (it’s fragile). Some team members also spent some time to learn how to make some much needed coaxial cables.

Victor Tse and Steffany Synge, Groundstation Squad Leads

High Altitude Balloon

Balloon has been preparing for the 1-2 June launch. The main focus of this mission is to test the stabilisation and flight termination mechanisms that have been developed over the term. Stabilisation will be tested on a single axis due to weight restrictions and redundancy requirements. Telemetry from this flight and video footage will help to assess the implementation for the final design. Flight termination will be testing a new software, a custom PCB and DTMF radio transmissions. There is also a mechanism in place to send a signal for whether the nichrome-burn termination is successful. Telemetry will also be used to see if it is successful.

Matt Richards, Balloon Team Member

Image may contain: one or more people, people playing sport and outdoor
BLUEsat members playing soccer at one of our social events

Secretary’s Update

May has been a pretty good month for media and events – we branched out and experimented with other events, with mini golf and soccer replacing a couple of our board game nights. We’ve also started a mentoring program, with the aim to help new members settle into the society easier and find out more about the aspects we could improve on.

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.

Author: Bohan Deng

Bohan Deng is a third year Aerospace Engineering student at UNSW Sydney who loves anything to do with space. Prior to taking up the Arc Delegate position, he was involved in developing the new 'NUMBAT' rover.

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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