Space ..there we go!!!

Written by Monica

Today is the last day of the first week of the Launch Campaing…that means it is also a special Sunday….many events…..they would put the nosecone to the rocket that means SQUID would be covered and we wouldn’t see it again until we recovered after mission 🙂 …. so we wanted to be at that moment but until then we had some free time so what we did was to go to the marvelous ICE HOTEL..we had access to the art rooms and they are amazing… a bit cold 🙂 but different from last year….you could see some photos .. then after been impressed by the hotel we came back to the ESRANGE but what was our surprise than we not only encounter a group of three reindeer but also another group with four of them …it was very nice to see them running along with us….but of course one needs to be careful….it is very dangerous to crash with them ..and actually we found in the side road a dead reindeer 😦 ..

Then after we return to ESRANGE we had a meeting were the team leaders should explain why your experiment was ready to FLIGHT!!…of course before being able to confirm that…we had a discussion previous the meeting.  We found out 3 major problems in SQUID during this week (1.GPS position, 2.Communication between RMU and FFU and 3. SCALE behavior), but thanks to a group work and dedication we solved them without setbacks and we feel quite confident our SQUID will perform successfully 😀 …then finally Gustav sign the papers where he as a representative of SQUID team say SQUID IS READY TO FLIGHT!!! and as Olle Persson said all we are WINNERS because we arrive to this point 🙂

So the activities ended and we deciide to relax a bit and watch some movies….so then we can start the most exciting and slowly week!!

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Day 3 ….. Vibration test….and much much more

After a lot of stress and quick assembling and disassembling of the experiment we finally managed to put everything together after a few changes on the top plate ejection system (which by the way will keep us busy for a few weeks in order to test a new design deeply). One of the problems of vibration is that the screws fall down extremely easily and we have to make sure that all of them are properly secured with a special adhesive, which makes even more difficult and specially time consuming the assembly of the system.

Unfortunately, when everything was ready we found that something was not working as it should as we couldn’t manage to insert properly the umbilical connectors (probably because of a sudden change on the usual assembly procedure) so we were unable to have communication with the experiment, which would basically mean that the vibration test would only allow us to test the structural integrity of SQUID, which in any case was scary enough, specially after the problems we had both with the top plate ejection system and the FFU ejection system.

The next step was to assemble the experiment together with the magic hat in the shaker and place the accelerometers in the different interesting components of the system in order to get the response of the vibration. The test consisted in three different ‘steps’, first a sine sweep, which is basically a sinusoidal excitation of the experiment that is used to obtain the eigenfrequencies of the system without introducing high loads, then the random vibration, which is the real and tough test, as it simulates the vibration levels on the launcher and finally,  a second sine sweep, in order to check if something was broken inside the experiment, as if something got damaged during the random vibration test the responses from the first and second sine sweeps would differ.

As usual we had bad luck. The first sine sweep showed that around 500Hz there was a resonance between the shaker and the FFU, meaning that the signal or the vibration of the shaker would be amplified in the FFU. The worse thing was the magnitude of the amplification, as on the sine sweep seemed to be of 10 times, which was everything but funny. Fortunately, the random vibration test went very well (we didnt see any parts of the experiment flying) and the resonance was finally as bad as expected (the signal was ‘only’ amplified by a factor of 3)  and the second sine sweep was the same as the first one.

The test did show however a couple of minor problems. After the shaking we tested the electronics and the SCALE systems. The electronics were working perfectly, but when we tried the deployment of the SCALEs we saw that one of them was failing. The reason seemed to be that the screw holding the driving gear to the motor shaft went loose during vibration, probably because  the adhesive we were using for the screws was not suitable for plastic (the cogwheels are made of Delrin). Also, and when we removed the e-box we found out that the clamp of the steel wire of the FFU was deattached from the bottom plate (it was originally glued), which means that we will have to make some minor changes on its design in order to be able to screw it to the bottom plate instead of gluing it. In any case, and after all the problems we had during the previous days the test was quite successful.

Mario Valle

Day 2 in DLR Bremen…..Time event simulation

Written by Monica

Today has been a very exciting day, all the experiments in the Rexus 10 (GAGa, FOCUS,M-BEAM and SQUID) were connected together and we simulate the time event, our SQUID communication with the rocket service module is as we expected,for now we just run with  the test mode, i.e. we control everything that happens in the experiment, but tomorrow after a vibration test we will run the mission mode, where the functions should perform automatically.

Of course, watching the experiment working feels very  nice, but it also has represented long days and an incredible amount of work, everything is  small scale and every single screw has its own way to be put.

Right now, the time is devoted to prepare the rope that goes into the cutter that will release parachute… once it is done we can then pack the parachute into the FreeFlightUnit … for 2nd time today 😉

Tomorrow..vibration test..and right after …test ejection of the booms…Lets hope everything works !!!!

PCBs soldered!

Written by Monica

So after have received the PCBs, the exciting tas of soldering started…we have 11 PCBs to solder…but for now 3 of them are critical to test and specially to be tested during a helicopter drop test that is coming in the next weeks.

It is worth to let you know that the challenge in this soldering is to handle the components..becuase they are so tiny that any false movement and they will fly and never see them again, specially the resistors and capacitors.. the ones we were used are case 0603 (1.6 mm × 0.8 mm)..

Other component part of the challenge was the FPGA becuase it has 100 pins and of course they must be clean and dont touch the next pin…when you see then by bare eye it looks so good but if you look with a microscope you will be surprised so it is very important to handle with care this component…. in the next picture some components

In the next part I will show you the PCBs as I showed some posts ago …and how they look now.

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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.

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 🙂