Friday – BMW finally

Considering the cosiness of our beds Friday was probably the hardest day during the week. For some reason all of us were really tired on Friday morning as we went to DLR to pack our stuff. We had to leave our RID at the DLR’s workshop as they wanted to do some more modifications in order to avoid possible problems during nose-cone separation. When we had packed all the other stuff we wished FOCUS good luck as they had to run another test to make sure that the experiment works together with the service module.

Now, we had to do something to forget that the RID is at the workshop and who knows what they’re going to do to it? So, now the plan was to gather some food and give the BMW-museum another try. As we decided to eat there I luckily had the opportunity to introduce the bavarian national dish to David and Gustav, “Münchner Weißwurst” with sweet mustard and pretzel. Although we broke with the tradition that you’re supposed to eat  it before 12:00.

Then the BMW-museum was a real highlight, especially the momentary exhibition on art-cars made the cars look really beautiful. Afterwards we were exhausted like hell and everybody was eager to take a seat.


Thursday – Bench test

As you’ve already seen the hot bench test went quite well at least to begin with. However to tell the story I should maybe start from the beginning. I’ve know that you’ve all heard about this bench test but what is it really? To be honest I’did not really know what it was my self before last week. I’ll try to give you a short explanation. The bench test is can be explained as a dry run of the rockets mission. This means that one tries to run through all the events, from start of countdown till the experiments have reached the ground, that would occur during a real flight. This series of events is usually talked about as the mission time line. In our case we´re a total of four experiments in the same rocket, our self’s, GAGA, FOCUS and M-BEAM. These teams all have their own events during the mentioned timeline.

During the mission each of the experiment is surveilled by one of the members who are using some kind of software at their own computers to do so. In our case it’s me who are using my own developed liveCOM to do so. The data is delivered through a classical serial cable from the main receiver who receives the data from all experiments over a common wireless transmission from the rocket but split it before it is sent to the respective serial interface.

So what happens during these events? For squid parts the timeline look something like this:

T-10m 0s Experiment power on.

T-9m 0s SQUID SOE activated.

T-8m 55s SQUID SOE deactivated.

T-8m 30s SQUID rocket power deactivated.

T-8m 0s SQUID rocket power activated.

T+0m 0s LO.

T+73s SQUID FFU ejected.

After this point no more data is received since there is with the connection the experiment after it has left the rocket. This means that the experiment in it self is only recorded on the on board memory and it is therefore necessary to recover the experiment in order to get access to the data. To do a bench test is a quite nervous thing. I where sitting in front of my computer with a checklist beside me checking of that I perform all necessary actions in the right order and at the right time. In a real situation one would of course be even more nervous, everything happens very quick and the checklist is therefore really important. From this perspective the bench went as a charm. We did however have some problems, these where however due to the fact that the on board software had not been updated for a while which meant that the acceleration profile for the SCALE systems wasn’t as it should have been. We also experienced a power loss at the main rocket power during the first hot count down after our experiment had been ejected. This mean that we lost our video from the rocket mounted camera that where filming the ejection it self. During a real flight this would mean that we would not be able to see the SCALE maneuvering.

Movie from bench-test

Laaadies and Gentlemen, aliens and alienesses!!

SQUID productions is proud (TBD :p ) to present a true action movie full of drama and comedy, the ultimate adventure and sci-fi movie ever, a war-story, thriller and documentary  it is:

REXUS 10 bech-test, a very short summary from Thursday and early Friday.

Enjoy 😀

The more productive wednesday

Today was the first day of the REXUS 10 bench test. The day started off with all the teams arriving and unpacking their experiments. For SQUID all looked good, experiment checked out in the REXUS simulator and the riggin for test ejection of the FFU during the hot bench test was ready so we proceeded to mounting the FFU onto the RMU. Of course at this point things have gone too smoothly for us so a failure or problem did not suprise us at all when it now happened. As the FFU was being mounted and the wire tensioned the end of the wire held by the clamp inside the FFU somehow got released. This meant that we had to reinstall a new wire which in turn meant disasemblying the experiment because the wire clamp is of course placed on one of the more unreachable places in the FFU. However a bit after lunch the SQUID experiment was ready and we could proceed to connecting it with the rocket service module. Then the bench-test started.

We performed two successful soft runs, soft being that no pyros were fired and some experiments did not fully deploy but communications and signals worked as the should. The bench-test procedure was carried out as a simulation of the actual mission with countdown starting at t-10 minutes, confirming experiments got power and recieved signals. At zero the launch signal for rocket takeoff was issued, about 60 seconds later nose-cone ejection was announced and after that at t+73 SQUID ejection was announced, the rocket despun and onboard experiments activated. Mission was completed at t+10 minutes with experiments power off. Thats a brief walkthrough of the mission and bench-test procedure.

One strange anomality could was noted during the runs which was that when SQUID recieved the SOE signal, which switches on the experiment, the Lift off signal was recieved at the same moment. This should not happen but somehow a glitch occurs and makes the system think it has recieved LO. However this does not introduce any real problems into the experiment as the only thing relying on LO is the RMU mounted camera but we will still need to investigate this a bit.

It was a bit nervous as one could get a feeling for how the real launch would then feel. Tomorrow the hot bench test will take place where the FFU will actually be ejected for real. This is gonna be nervwrecking to experience but oooooh so much fun =D also a television team is coming so we hope that everything really turns out well.

Upon returning to the hotel in the evening the boss commanded that we continue working before getting food and drink (schnitzel and beer :p ) so as soon as this blog post was written we set out to do what we usually do in the evenings.

The not so productive Tuesday.

Now, unfortunately we are kind of late with the blog entry, I had already written most of it on Wednesday night, but neither the DLR nor our Hotel did provide us with a proper Internet connection.

As Gustav told you we went to the Benchtest “happening” a bit earlier than the other teams from REXUS 10 in order to be prepared for possibly upcoming problems. As we hadn’t experienced any problems we had spent some time on thinking through a solution on how to rig up a test where we could actually eject the FFU without endangering other experiments and we thought we could rig up something alike during the day. The hole idea involved the big crane hanging from the roof of the experiment hall and although we had thought we could use that one at some point during the day we weren’t able to do so.

In the morning we watched the first bench tests with all the experiments rigged up together and it was kind of obvious that Sponge and Telescobe where still having some problems. Telescobe was coping with Software problems while Sponge eventually found out that they had problems with one of the motors which they will have to change. Later on Gustav was helping Jack from Telescobe with the Software while David and me tried to work on Documentation. This was kind of problematic as well because David had not installed the TeX software on his Computer and we didn’t have access to Internet. Believe it or not at the DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen it is a problem to get an Internet connection.
Fortunately I had the installation files still on my computer and after transferring a couple of package files for MikTex David was actually able to work on the documentation.

In the evening we joined the successful teams for food and beer in the Restaurant next to our Hotel.

Arrival and first day

So last sunday it was finally time to go to Munich again, but this time to participate in the bench test. So just after twelve i met up with David at SPP to gather the last things as well as printing the last version of the experiment documentation. After the the last check we continued our trip towards Arlanda where everything went well we even had time to make our usual stop at Starbucks Arlanda. This has actually become something of a tradition for us and it would have felt a bit strange not having time for the stop. Well down in Munich we took the S-bahn directly from the airport towards Steinbach where it is a five minutes walk to the place we’re staying at. On our way, passing central Munich Georg jumped aboard the train to join up with us. It was great to see him once again.
Well at our hotel we just left our bags and wen’t down to the one restaurant in the village to meet up with the other teams and have dinner and of course some beers. After a nice night some good sleep a breakfast and a quick taxi ride to DLR it was finally time for the moment we had all been afraid of; to unpack the experiment. It turned out that the experiment in fact was in very good shape and that it was working excellent together with our Ground Support Software. So after some quick discussions and a great lunch we decided to keep out of the way (monday and tuesday are supposed to be used for the REXUS 9 teams) so we headed towards Munich.
I and David decided to try to go to the BMW museum after all the recommendations from Georg while he had some things to take care of in town. However it turned out that the museum was closed on mondays but we spent some time at the BMW welt which is as a museum but only contains the new cars and is also free. However this has actually become another of our tradition, that Georg tell us the opening ours of museums which always turns out to be wrong, this far however have always been compensated by being able to watch an exhibition for free instead. Once again we headed back to time where it was time for some coffee and some great German bakery. Soon enough we met up with Georg again who this time had his girlfriend Maximilian with him. We took a walk through old time Munich and then continued out to the Augustiner Beer hall where we where last summer as well. Here we had some great food the four of us together. Now we’re all looking forward to have a look on the REXUS 9 bench test which will take place on Tuesday.

First post of 2011

It has been some time since our last blog post but don’t worry, we have just been busy… My original idea for the first blog post was to write a year story for 2010. However you must forgive cause I have been lazy! So to make it up to you I’m now intending to write

1) A short year story for 2010, which will be posted as an separate blog post later on this week 😉

2) A brief summary of what has happened since we last wrote anything on the blog

3) A short list of the upcoming events for the projects

4) Some great news.

Well start of in the opposite direction hence here comes the great news, first of we today sent away the experiment to DLR in Munich in preparations for the bench test which will take place there during the upcoming week. The second good news, which I’m actually quite late with, is that our successors, the RAIN experiment, have been selected for the REXUS 11/12. Check out more about them at there blog

So what highlights will happen in the project during the coming couple of months?

17-21 january – First of is the bench test which will take place in Munich during next week. The main focus of the event is to run through the mission time line including all events for all of the experiments in the same rocket.

31 january – 2 february –  Spin balance of the rocket

14-25 february – LAUNCH CAMPAIGN

So what have we been doing since you last heard from us just before christmas. Well as probably most of you also have done we have taken some time off. The team started to drop off as early as two weeks before christmas and some of us are still away on vacation. Somehow though we have managed to get the experiment ready for the bench test in fact it has been many late nights and early mornings, especially during the last week.