November 2018 Monthly Update

lots of people in a room running workshops


From the Rover CTO

The Off World Robotics teams have made steady progress over the past month with members coming back after exams. The rover team has continued development and new member training, while the drone team has finalised their initial plans for developing autonomous features relevant to off earth drone use.

Bohan Deng, Rover CTO

From the Software Team

The Off World Robotics Software team has had a quiet month, with people finishing up exams and many of the members taking, or preparing to take, trips and holidays. Work wise, people have been settling into their new teams as were decided on in our post ERC design reviews. This means that as people return, things will pick up and we should be well on our way to getting into our current major projects.

William Miles, Rover Software Chapter Lead

Breadboard connected to a red (ti) circuit board with jumper wires
CAN testing circuit

From the Electrical Team

With members finishing their exams, the team has picked up speed and made its way into the requirement analysis and initial design phase. It is great to see that the preliminary design for the science module 2.0 has been completed, while post-competition investigations and debugging of the microcontroller PCB and communication bus is underway. There has also been ongoing research into the power module 2.0 and regular intake of new blood. We look forward to seeing more updated designs in the coming months!

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Mechanical Team

Soon after exams were over, the Off World Robotics Mechanical team started to do more research. We have decided to make the wheels flush so the rover could potentially run well on both hard ground and soil terrain. We also thought about reducing the weight of the rover by redesigning the top plate of the chassis along with several other components, more calculation and research will be done in the near future to help with that. Two of our senior members and their friends also ran a few FEA workshop sessions for everyone interested in learning this awesome technique, and we hope to run more workshops for everyone who is interested in the future!

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mechanical Chapter Lead

From the Drone Team

The Drone team is still waiting for the equipment to be bought and delivered in order to start the building of the prototype. Some new ideas came up about a new design and the team is still discussing it.

Nahid Alemi Kermani, Drone Squad Lead


From the Satellite CTO

Exams are finally over for everyone and the teams have now begun planning for holiday deliverables!

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO

From the High-Altitude Balloon Team

7 people on a green field holding two massive white (high-altitude) balloons
The Balloon Team, launching 2 balloons on the 10th of November 2018

The High-Altitude Balloon team has hit the ground running once again in November – it began with a record-breaking HAB launch which sent a pie to 29km altitude. We launched 2 balloons carrying payloads from many Australian space organisations, including Space Ops and Picosat, as part of the NewSpace Flashbuild to showcase Australian space capabilities. Design of the BalSAR high-altitude platform continues, with Jeffrey and I presenting our Thesis A this month. Part selection is underway for the subsystems of the platform, and December will be a very busy month in which the HAP subsystems will start to come together.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Team Lead

From the Groundstation Team

Preliminary discussion with our Balloon team is currently underway for the development of a new mobile groundstation which is intended to resolve problems with the existing balloon tracking process. Meanwhile, work on the CSE groundstation has been postponed until after at least the complete decay of the UNSW-EC0 CubeSat, which SatFlare has predicted will occur around the 3rd of December.

Victor Tse, Groundstation Squad Lead

From the CubeSat Power Team

The BLUEsat Power team is picking things up again. Ricky has made a lot of good progress on the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) system, finally debugging most of the large issues with the system. He is beginning the design of version 2 with all the fixes. The control part of the system has also been built and is undergoing testing. We are hitting issues with I2C, perhaps with poor soldering on one of the chips. Following this, we are going to look at reconstructing the now burnt out regulation board.

William Chen, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the CubeSat ADCS Team

November always brings with it exams and that has meant a slower month for the ADCS team. Work has continued on the sensor testing board for our tests on the single-axis magnetorquer. The second PCB for the magnetorquer has been ordered as well as the components to make two single-axis magnetorquers to allow us to run tests efficiently.

Olivia Yem, ADCS Squad Lead

From the CubeSat GreenSat Team

The GreenSat team was been planning the design for the pressure vessel, trying to ensure that it would fit enough samples inside, as well as the electrical circuit boards. We have also created circuits for testing the samples.

Rajiv Narayan, GreenSat Squad Lead

Secretary’s Update

Five people around a small table, with a woman helping a little girl put a screw on a box
BLUEsat ‘space tower’ workshop at the Ronald McDonald Hospital

November has been an interesting month for BLUEsat in terms of external events, primarily for the NewSpace Flashbuild, as mentioned earlier. We held a workshop for some of the children at the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Hospital. In this workshop, some children helped make a ‘space tower’ which involved putting together laser-cut and 3d-printed pieces together to form a box for the payload, while others worked on attaching a coil and a magnet inside the space tower. These were them placed on one of the balloons that were launched on the 10th of November, with the coil and magnet generating electricity as the balloon moved around during the launch. Several of our members also visited St Clare’s Collage Waverly and demonstrated how our three-axis magnetorquer ADCS system works. Some BLUEsat members were also lucky enough to attend the United Nations Association of Australia Space Development Summit yesterday, hearing from and networking with industry leaders about the latest advancement in space technologies.

We also had our end of year event this month, where more than 20 of us bonded further over several bowling games and a delicious dinner at a very long table. BLUEsat has also seen some new faces this month, and we look forward to training new members and making more progress on all of our projects now that exams are over!

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.

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