Planning the summer

So it’s finally time to write my first project management post in english. For those of you who have read my earlier posts in swedish it should come as no surprise that I’m using ganntproject as the primary planning software.

During the spring the Gantt chart started to grow to such size that it really became impossible to not forget tasks in the process when I where updating the status of the project. It was also hard to really get an overview of which tasks had been added in between the different subprojects. I therefore choose to  tackle the task of planning the summer and autumn from another angle then before. This time I started with writing a document containing lists for each subproject with the tasks that had been identified. To simplify the identification of all tasks i created a numbering system, this also simplifies discussions between different members in the team since it clarify which task is being discussed. The document is easy to overview when printed which makes it excellent as a material for group discussions this really made wonders for the connection between the planning and the reality.

After I had written the document I synchronized it with the Gantt chart as well as with Basecamp (for those of you who are not familiar with it, it is our internal communication platform made by 37signals). When adding the tasks to the gantt chart I took the opportunity to start setting dates for the tasks, this is a process which isn’t ready yet since it really takes a loth of time. The gantt chart still has some great advantages when it comes to planning the timeline. The software gives a great overview of the availability of different recourses (group members) which really comes in handy during summer since we’re all spread out around the world during different times. A great challenge has been to try to plan for the drop test in the end of the summer, we have a loth of larger/smaller tasks which needs to be completed to be able to go through with the test. The plan for the drop test will be more further detail during a later post.

This was all I had in mind for now but please do not hesitate to comment on my posts since I really would appreciate getting some new ideas for the management part of the project.

Layouts done!

Written by Monica

Since some posts ago, May11-Monica and May13-Mark,  we were talking about the electronics design of the SQUID experiment. We were in the process to design,make schematics, make the layout which meant to route and place the components, with all this done we were able to manufacture the printed circuit board (PCB). We did in total 11 different PCBs, all of them double sided and they have six layers where the routing is done. Fortunately we have received the first set of PCBs and now we can start the so announced soldering. The PCBs look amazing , soon we will show them with the components.

The Scale System – progress

For the last couple of weeks I have been, amongst other things, working on the scale system. We have received some more parts from the manufacturer, but there is still a lot to be done before we finally can assemble the whole system. The good thing is that we actually start to see what it will look like and get a feel for the different parts. I have added some pictures of the scale system as it looks so far.  We are still waiting for some parts to be manufactured and some of the parts we will manufacture ourselves in our workshop.

So far I have made one of the cylinders in the workshop. Some smaller adjustments had to be made afterwards to be able to assemble the scale system but it was all within reasons. It was quite some time since I worked in a workshop so it always takes a day or two to get adjusted and to learn where all the tools are. I look forward to continuing the work when I get back from my vacation.

CDR and Sightseeing in München

Some time has passed, Midsummer is over and reasonable part of the team is on vacation. I myself just came back from hiking in Lapland, but the things I want to talk about lie a bit further back in time. It’s about the days from the 7th to the 9th of June 2010, we spent in Bavaria in order to attend the CDR (critical design review) and present our project progress. As München had been my hometown for about three years during my earlier studys I had the honour of guiding the major part of the SQUID team through the streets of the Bavarian capital.

Well, everything started with a far to early flight from Stockholm to München. Having checked in in our hotel next step was the search for food, which ended up in a traditional restaurant having “Schweinshaxn mit Knödel” (knuckel of pork with dumplings) for lunch and of course not to forget the beer.

Now that everybody was well-fed I said something like “we could walk to the technical museum” and “We’re not in Sweden they’re gonna have opened longer than till 5”. The truth in the first one seems to lie in the eye of the beholder, however I had overestimated the distance compared to our lack of sleep and the amounts of food. However it turned out that the museum closes at five when we where entering, at four. And I really was convinced they would close later in the evening.

Eventually day 1 was completed by having dinner and some beers together with the FOCUS team in the Augustiner Braustuben, a place I can really recommend cause of their prices for good food and beer.

Next day we mainly visited the inner city of München, visited the cathedral “Frauenkirche” and took a look from its top.  In the afternoon we took the S-Bahn to the place where we would sty that night in order to be near Oberpfaffenhofen the next morning. On the way there we met the MBEAM-team and after having dinner with them  we ended up sitting around with most of the people from the review panel. After that we were not totally confident with our presentation and did some late-nigh quick fixes.

On Wednesday we were the first team to present our progress and defend the documents we had delivered until then. The experts from the review panels had some concerns they wanted us to address but all in all it felt good, and they appreciated that we had already started with some of the tests. We are at the moment trying to address all these concerns and tomorrow we are going to deliver a new document so at least the missing parts and obvious mistakes are fixed.

After CDR we spent far too much time in one of the beer-gardens having lunch and we entered the aviation part of the technical museum again one hour before it closed. I am still sorry guys, but you seemed to enjoy the beer-garden as well.

So much about our trip to Bavaria in beginning of June, we are really glad that CDR is over and in the whole everything went smooth, after all we were doing the trip for the project.

Team SQUID del 12 – Mikko Laukkanen

Hello Mikko! How old are you, and where are you originally from?

Mikko Laukkanen - portrait

Mikko Laukkanen

I’m 27 years old. Where I’m from is a tougher question, I’ve been all over Sweden. So far I’ve been living at eight different cities.

What is your role in the SQUID project?

I have the responsibility of the onboard camera system. The work consists of modifying an extreme sport camera to our requirements and to design and program a timer circuit that will control the camera operations.

What did you study at your previous college, and what are you studying now here at KTH? What made you choose to study here?

I have an aeronautical engineering exam from MDH Västerås. I felt that I were not yet done with the academic world, so I decided to study two more years in KTH choosing Master of Aerospace Engineering program.

How did you come to join the SQUID team?

A class mate of mine (David) was already involved in the SQUID project, I heard from him about the project and that the team needed somebody to work with the camera system and its timer circuit, as the timer circuit is based on a microcontroller, and as I am interested of microcontrollers I applied to join the team.

Where and with what do you hope to be working in ten years’ time?

Hopefully in a high-tech aerospace company, where I don’t know. I’m used to move around in Sweden but it would be interesting to live in a foreign country for a while, maybe a larger international company would be suitable for me where the possibility of varying workspace are better.

Worst space movie ever?

There’s a lot to choose from, maybe” DOOM” or “G**N***** from Outer Space”, the title says it all.

Soldering course at DLR

written by MONICA

As I mention in a older post (11 may) I was going to attend a soldering course at DLR (German Aerospace Center, Oberpfaffenhofen,Germany) offered for the REXUS program..and I did attend exactly after the CDR presentation and when I say exactly after the CDR it is literally because the course started at 9am and our presentation finished at 11am so I was a bit late, and my first surprise was to hear that the course was been given in German, so I asked very kindly to the instructor to give it in English and as everybody was comfortable with that the complete course was in english, he also provide me with manual in English and everything so I felt very happy to understand …. so the course started with the basics, theory about process and how important is to clean everything before start to solder… they provided us with a special PCB to solder and some components in order to practice after the theory was given, among the things that I liked more was a tinning process and also the soldering with hot air, it would be amazing to have one of that solders….specially for the surface mounted devices…. very soon we are going to start the soldering of the PCBs , I am sure this course will help a lot 🙂