Launch campaign, Tuesday

So, now the launch campaign has officially started. All the teams have arrived, the “church” is really crowded and we do have a lack of chairs, power outlets and network connections. Not to mention that we are short of working space.

However it feels cosy and with the outside temperature it feels really nice to have enough people in here to keep the assembly hall warm.

We have conducted our last landing system test by putting the system it in a vacuum chamber and making sure that the pressure sensor and the oven cutter work in a proper way.This was done under time pressure, as there were still some things to be sorted out with the rocket service module and they found out that they needed us on the spot when we had just left for the test. On the other hand it was actually really tricky to find a feasible power outlet for the test because the building there is taken by the French from CNES and thus most of the power outlets there were french at the moment. Eventually the pressure test went really well and the top plate ejected as it should at the matching pressure for 5500 metres.

In the evening we prepared the SCALES with the flight cable and conducted a couple of tests in order to be sure they work.

Unfortunately Mikko and I were missing out on the sauna as we are accommodated in Kiruna and this means a one hour ride from Esrange. We almost had an accident with a reindeer instead.

Advertisements

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.

Top plate ejection testing

So as (almost) usual we’re at the lab on a Sunday, as most of the testing doesn’t seem to fit in our timetables. However as the sun is not showing up as often as you’d want her to, working seems like a fairly good way of killing time.

So what’s happened is first of all, that we all came in pretty late and somehow tired between 3 and 4 pm. Then we needed some time to find ll the stuff and to remember what we actually wanted to do. Eventually we figured out that we needed some small modifications from Gustav so David and I could do a test on the top-plate ejection system which i a crucial part of the landing system. Hence it is really important that it works cause otherwise the parachute will not open and the experiment might be lost for good.

Our first attempts to test the system failed due to the rope holding down the lock broke while we where still trying to close it. Just as we started to become desperate and thought we’d have to redesign the whole thing Gustav came up with an idea. He suggested to put some tube around the wire at the place where we are joining it with another wire. This “cushion” worked fine and so we consider the Sunday a successful one.

busy, busy, busy

I just realized, it seems we were too busy to actually inform you about all our problems and the work that has happened on the structure and especially on the deployment system during the last couple of weeks.

When we started to put the SCALE-system together about six weeks ago we found out, that we actually had some pretty big problems with friction, and where not really able to feed out the cable at all. The main problem here was the feed through mechanism of the main cogwheel where the cable is supposed to glide through easily. Now after a lot of trial and error and some help the system is working and it’s amazing how much better the feed-through works now.  So much about summing up the biggest problem we had recently. However I hope Malin finds some time soon to fill you in on the more detailed progress on the SCALE.

Then more recently we thought about panicking on Friday, because the M-Beam

– Team from Austria called us in order to get some more space. There experiment is going to sit right below ours in the rocket and we had discussed how much space they need, but for some reason it got bigger anyway. After some discussion it seems to be the easiest if we just raise our experiment a bit. Still we got kind of shocked and M-Beam seemed to be pretty desperate at first. I just hope we don’t experience any more problems due to that issue.

Fortunately there is something going according to the plans  (at least almost) and the manufacturing of the flight versions of some different parts has started. The first flight frame is finished, David is working on the first set of walls, which seems to be difficult, but with some training I am sure he will manage to bend them in a way so the fit “perfectly”. Then for next week it is planned, that all parts for the RMU are finished, and with some luck we will even have the outer housing of the first FFU done and finished.

Messages from the workshop

Actually I should have don this post two weeks ago and I do have a bad conscience because I left id undone, but as I am leaving for Munich on Sunday bad conscience is disabled for  next week.

Still I have to bring my excuses up, to assure you, I wasn’t only twiddling my thumbs. While I spent the last week getting familiar with the simulation task and working on the camera box the week before that was taken by redesigning the Rocket interface disk (RID) so we could finally order it.

As you may know from earlier entries we are producing some of the things we are using stuff ourselves. The prototypes for the drop test where manufactured in house, the boxes for the camera and the NSSB are produced here as well as the pusher ring and some other small parts.

I was working down in the workshop during the last week quite a lot in order to get the camerabox ready, and as you can see something has happened. You wouldn’t believe how much much swarf one can produce from 100mmx40mmx40mm block when you have to make a box of it. Unfortunately it’s not finished yet, but it’s on a good way! At the same time the battery clamp had to be bent and using a hammer and some tape I produced one that works, in order to make a flight one however there will be some more practice involved.

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.

Workshop stories

Georg writes

Getting involved in the team doesn’t take long, especially as the CDR is inevitably coming closer and closer.

The first day I spend on the team David and me where sent to the deep dungeons in the basement where we should manufacture the first mock-up. The main idea is to have a model of the experiment to test the folding of the parachutes and the ejection mechanism for those.

So we got introduced to the machines and started milling the bottom plate. First everything went alright. However after some time, when we actually didn’t even mean to mill anything but wanted to change the position of the milling tool, we cut a deep hole into the rotary table the part was fixed on. I am still thankful and impressed how calm Lasse stayed, because I somehow expected him to lose it. Anyhow, lesson learnt, do never interfere with each other when working on a machine.

The next day we went even deeper into the basement and bent some sheet of aluminium to get the walls. Nothing special there except for the really noisy plate shear that sounded like a small gas turbine.

Some days later I drilled and threaded a couple of holes to set the whole thing together, while David bent some sheet metal as a model for the SCALE-System.
So now we got a preliminary mock-up and it somehow makes proud to produce something for real!