September 2018 Monthly Update

BLUEsat's rover driving
BLUEsat's NUMBAT Rover practicing for the traversal task

It was definitely the most eventful month of the year for BLUEsat. Placing 8th in the European Rover Challenge (ERC), attending the AEC as well as the successful balloon launch this past weekend. A huge round of applause to everyone for all your hard work this last month! The Rover teams are undergoing some design reviews to improve for the next ERC, and a new squad working on a drone that will follow the rover around to give it a bird’s eye view has been formed. Meanwhile, the CubeSat ADCS team has almost finished a prototype for a single axis magnetorquer, and other great progress has been made in our various teams!


From the Rover CTO

BLUEsat's 2018 ERC Team
BLUEsat’s 2018 ERC Team

What an exciting month this has been! The BLUEsat Rover team has worked extremely hard to compete in this year’s European Rover Challenge, culminating in our trip to Poland this past month.

Our team of 8 members took 2 weeks off University, traveled over 30,000km by airplane and challenged ourselves at this year’s competition. We achieved some great results, coming 8th out of the 63 registered teams with our new NUMBAT Rover, the best result from our society so far! The whole trip went without a hitch and we are all resting now we are back in Sydney.

The coming weeks will see all teams conduct design reviews to determine what changes can be made to the rover to ensure future success.

Thomas Renneberg, Rover CTO

From the Software Team

The month started off with final preparation and testing for ERC. Given the immaturity of several of the large software components we were utilising on the rover, we were quite satisfied with the final performance of the software. Apart from ERC, there has been continued integration of new members into the team, and, now that the pressure is off, we are focusing more on improving team practices and procedures.

William Miles, Rover Software Chapter Lead

From the Mechanical Team

BLUEsat's NUMBAT Rover completing the retrieval task
BLUEsat’s NUMBAT Rover completing the retrieval task

There were ups and downs for the rover during ERC, but overall, the rover was a success and we are very happy about it! There is a lot to be improved on, including the arm, wheels, the suspension system and the steering system, and the team has already begun research for these changes.

We ran a CNC milling workshop was during mid-semester break, which was both fun and successful, with more workshops planned.

Quoc Trung (Alex) Vo, Rover Mechanical Chapter Lead

From the Electrical Team

It was a fantastic time participating in the ERC in Poland. Most parts of the electrical system exhibited adequate robustness and reliability, ensuring safe operation in almost all the competition tasks – well done everyone! Having seen our strengths and weakness in the competition, the team is now well aware of the issues to be resolved in the coming year. While a few of the designs will go through further iteration, some new tasks have also been released in the team design review meeting last Saturday. With more members and a clearer goal, we are on the road again.

Jonathan Wong, Rover Electrical Chapter Lead

From the Chief Pilot

BLUEsat's rover driving
The BLUEsat NUMBAT Rover practicing for the traversal task

Back from a very eventful and a learning experience that is ERC, there is plenty to improve on. Now that most of the team knows exactly how the tasks are run in the competition, the training sessions will be tailored to make them more relevant to the competition.

Sajid Anower, Rover Chief Pilot

From the Drone Team

The Drone team is working on 30k ft drone as a starting point which will then allows us to have better idea about high altitude drones by the time this drone will be upgraded in order to fulfill the final aim; which is operating in 100k ft altitude (similar to Mars’ atmosphere).

Nahid Alemi Kermani, Drone Squad Lead


From the Satellite CTO

The semester may be coming to a close, but the team is still at full throttle. The balloon team has had the most successful launch as of yet, getting ready for larger and more complex payloads which will include our Cubesat soon enough.

Timothy Guo, Satellite CTO

From the High-Altitude Balloon Team

The balloon team after the launch
The HAB Team after the launch

BLUEsat’s High-Altitude Ballooning team has been working hard on many different projects, culminating in a successful mission at the end of the month.

We have been meeting with teams from the MECH4100 mechanical design course to review their proposed concepts for a lift and recovery module, providing feedback on what features we found desirable and what aspects could have been improved. The teams will now proceed to generate a final concept that they will showcase to us in the coming weeks.

Additionally, we planned a HAB launch for the 29th September, with the primary goal being to acquire accurate inertial sensing data to help with development of the BALSAR stabilisation systems. The mission was an overwhelming success, with efficient launch, tracking and an exhilarating recovery of the payload!

The coming weeks will see post-processing and analysis of the collected data and pictures from the recent flight, as well as a blog post.

Furthermore, collaborations between external organisations to use BLUEsat’s HAB launch capabilities are being negotiated, with another launch scheduled for next month, October.

Adithya Rajendran, Balloon Squad Lead

From the CubeSat Power Team

The Power team has been working on characterizing some high-efficiency solar cell and researching into the design requirements of the solar panel, which will be mounted on the outside of the satellite. The main board is also being designed at the moment which is extremely exciting – we will have our first iteration of our complete CubeSat power solution soon!

William Chen, Satellite Power Squad Lead

From the CubeSat ADCS Team

Over the course of this month, the ADCS team has been working on the prototype of the single axis magnetorquer and has produced the first iteration of the PCB. As the programming for the magnetorquer is complete, all that remains before testing can begin is to assemble the components.

We’ve also begun work on creating a sensor board that will gather data during testing. It’ll allow the team to perform detailed experiments to improve the design for the triple axis magnetorquer.

Olivia Yem, ADCS Squad Lead

From the CubeSat GreenSat Team

The GreenSat team is now working on developing the requirements for the pressure vessel for the CubeSat. The team has been working hard in regards to minimising power usage on board, and researching microcontrollers that would be best to use in space-based environments. We have found out that our base power requirements will be around 0.5W.

The team has also been working on creating a new method to integrate interested students into the GreenSat team.

Rajiv Narayan, GreenSat Squad Lead

From the Groundstation Team

The Groundstation team has been working to fix the groundstation. Currently, the groundstation is not functional due to issues with the rotator and controller for the rotator. So far, we have removed the antennae from the old rotator and removed the old rotator from the the mast. For the new rotator, we assembled a multi-wire cable fitted with a DIN connector that connects to the rotator and ring terminals that connect to the Controller Box. Hopefully we will have the antenna functional and calibrated by the end of the fortnight.

Joerick Aligno, Groundstation Squad Lead

Operations & Exec

President’s Update

UNSW Society Leaders at the Leadership Day
UNSW Society Leaders with Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy and Stephanie Bagnell from the UNSW Student Opportunities Team at the Leadership Day Workshop

The BLUEsat AGM will take place in the coming week and all Executive positions will be open for individuals to run for. As we are approaching the end of the year, some of the older members will be graduating and passing on their torch to newer members!

Things have started to calm down (hopefully), and its time to get stuck into planning out some goals for the rest of the semester, summer and the coming year. Anita, Yasmin and I attended an amazing Entrepreneurial Leadership Workshop ran by Campus Consultancy at UNSW and learnt several skills relevant to club leadership, personal branding, motivating teams and several other entrepreneurial frameworks. It has revitalised us with more motivation and we are all excited to put our new found skills to use!

Raghav Hariharan, President

Secretary’s Update

September has been a very exciting and successful month for BLUEsat!

Our Rover Team achieved 8th place our of 35 teams in the ERC, beating our ranking of 9th and 16th in previous competitions! While several of us were in Poland for the ERC, other BLUEsat members attended the Australian Engineering Conference in Sydney, talking to members of the Australian Centre of Space Engineering Research as well as fellow students about our projects. These were great opportunities for the members who attended to develop more of their skills.

On other news, we’ve also had a number of new members join several of our teams, and are working on improving our on-boarding strategy. Our board games nights this month have continued to be successful, and plans for a different, end-of-year social event will soon begin.

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.

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.