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.

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