Live streams from the church

We´d just like to tip about two different livestreams which are currently transmitting from the church (which is the building we´re working in). The streams are set up by two other teams so you probably won´t see that much of us but at lest you´d get a feeling of the spirit inside the church.

Some more pictures from the spin balance at KISTA

Yesterday I and David was in Kista to help with the spin balancing of our rocket. The main target was however to bring the experiment back with us to the school. So now we once again have the experiment with us in order to perform the last preparations of it ahead of the launch campaign.

By the way, I should mention that in preparation for the launch campaign we’ve created a YouTube channel where we will be uploading videos, hopefully on a daily base during the campaign! Take a look on it at . You can also read more info about the dates for the launch campaign at

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.

A summary of the system integration and vibration week

So as most of you already know me (Gustav), Malin, Mario and Monica went down to Bremen last week to deliver the experiment. What happened down there have already been told in a number of blog posts so I’ll try to write some about a few events which have yet not been told on the blog and then I’ll add some pictures which have yet not been published.

Oil needs to be refilledSo just as we where about to leave Denmark on out way down I noticed that the warning light for the Oil level started to flash. Since we where not the owners of the car we figured it was best to try to find the specified oil for the engine and where would you try to find a oil for a Volkswagen? well in Germany of course. So we continued the drive and took the ferry over. Well in Germany we stopped at the second fuel station and tried to find the right oil. I and Malin went in to the store, however the personnel did not speak very much english and we did not speak german. Somehow though we succeeded to explain what we wanted and also understood that they where out of the specific oil in the shop however they had it in a barrel in the workshop at the backyard. So we joined the mechanic (who by the way did not speak a word of english) back to to workshop. There we could not see the right markings on the barrel but he insisted on that it was the right one, suddenly he disappeared and we started to hesitate about the whole idea so we went back to the shop to say that we would leave. But the cashier just wanted us to wait so there we stood until the mechanic came back, it turned out that he had went away to get his glasses. Well back in the workshop again we soon found the right markings on the barrel and we agreed so he took an old oilcan and pumped up 3/4 of a liter in it. When we came out to the car Mario and Monica seemed really surprised looking at the old oil can. The mechanic was however very helpful and refilled the car. At the end we only had to pay 9€ so I must confess it was very service for the low price!

Mario brakes the locks

So first night in Bremen we carried the experiment up to the girls room just to be on the safe side and not leave it in the car. Well there Mario decided to check the status of the parts so he tried to open the box not knowing that it was in fact locked. However Mario is strong so in the close combat with Mario they soon gave up and went to thousand pieces. To bad the box was not ours but instead belonged to M-beam (who kindly enough have now let us continue to barrow the box). Somehow though Mario and Malin put the locks back together so even if they do not work any longer they are at least in the right place.


Well at the hotel we where asked if we where going to have breakfast there each morning since it was extra and quite expensive (9€ a day). I thought that we could just as well do so but the next morning i really regret my decision since the breakfast was definitely not worth the money. So the next the day we instead joined some of the other teams over to the central station where we found a great bakery where we had breakfast which tasted a lot better and was half the price. It ended up with us eating breakfast there every morning for the rest of the week.


Lost in Bremen

So last night in Bremen all REXUS teams went out to eat together. I convinced the others that we could just as well walk to the restaurant (yes I’m cheap, i did not want to pay for tram tickets). On our way we walked through the Christmas market and there I just stopped to get a good photo. Somehow though i missed that the others made a sharp turn so I continued straight forward and sone i realized that I was on my own. I called Malin and she somehow managed to get me on the right track. Soon however I could not longer recognize here description of the road so I tried to call Adam from ESA who somehow explained how I could find the others. Soon enough I once again where in the safety of the group.


Last day spent in the christmas market

Last day we spent an hour in the christmas marked. This was something we had been trying to do the whole week but since we had been working so much we had never had the time. So we took the chance to at least have a quick look on the market. It was definitely worth it, we goth a good view of the market and also went in to the cathedral which where very impressing!

No english

So after criticizing the germans for not being able to speak very much english I where very surprised on our way home. Somewhere in the middle between Helsingborg and Stockholm we made a coffee break. First to order was Mario who made his order in english to the young girl in the restaurant. I must say that I was quite surprised when i realized that she where not able to reply and probably not understood very much of what he said either. I really thought that basic english skills where a part of every young swedes knowledge but this event proved me to be wrong.

So all in all we had a great week, even if there was plenty of work. We also managed to get good results on our tests and we are know back to work in  Stockholm. As it seems most of us will have a couple of weeks well deserved vacation during christmas. But we will soon be back.

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