Team SQUID Del 4 – Mario Valle

Mario i bergen nära Incastaden Machu Picchu i Peru

Nu är det Marios tur, som med sin expertis gör simuleringar på bl.a. trådantennsutfällningen och utskjutningen från raketen, och dessutom ansvarar för den mekaniska designen av trådantennsutfällarna (de så kallade SCALE Wire Boom Deployers).

Hello Mario! How old are you, and where are you originally from?

I am 24 years old and from Vitoria (Gasteiz in basque), a small city in the north of Spain, not very far from the border with France.

What is your role in the SQUID project?

As responsible of the Dynamical modelling, I am in charge of developing a model of the deployment phase of the wire booms, in order to be able to specify the strategy that will minimize the final oscillations. I will also have to investigate the trajectory followed by the FFU once it is ejected, to make sure that the rocket will not collide with it during the flight.

I am also responsible of the boom system design and testing. The SCALE system (the mechanical device that will deploy the wire booms) is complex, and one has to make sure that the system works properly and with high reliability. To do so, a good design and extensive testing is required.

What did you study at your previous college, and what are you studying now here at KTH? What made you choose to study here?
Before coming to KTH I studied Ingeniería Técnica Aeronautica (BSc in Aeronautical engineering) in Madrid. After finishing it i worked for one year at INTA, the Spanish aeronautical research center and I realized that it was too early to start working, so I started looking for Master Degrees. I found the MSc in Aerospace engineering at KTH, which is one of the best universities in Europe and provides free education, so it did not take me much time to realize that it was the best choice, so I applied, I got accepted and here I am.

How did you come to join the SQUID team?

I have some friends that last year where enrolled in different REXUS projects (LAPLander and Suaineadh) and I was aware of how interesting those programs are. As I am doing my thesis related to MEFISTO, a wire boom system based on the same concept as the one we are going to use in SQUID which is going to be launched with the BepiColombo mission I had a good opportunity to join the program and apply the knowledge I was gaining from my thesis work, and learn a lot of new things, which is actually what is happening.

Where and with what do you hope to be working in ten years’ time?

Where, no idea. But I have it clear that I want to work in the space business.

Worst space movie ever?

Battlefield Earth. I saw it one of those Sundays that you have nothing to do. I lost 2 hours of my life.

MEFISTO Vibration test

One of the main objectives of the SQUID project is to deploy several wire booms. The system in charge of deploying these wire booms is called SCALE, and a very similar system called MEFISTO is being developed at KTH for the BepiColombo mission from ESA/JAXA, which will be launched to Mercury in 2014.

Last Thursday we performed a vibration test at Kista, where the instrument was subjected to a very severe vibration test in order to prove that it will survive to the launch. The instrument we tested was not the final design, and it was used mostly to validate the FEM model and detect possible problems on the design.

The test went really well, showing that the design was very robust and only some minor weak points where detected. The video posted below shows one of the hardest vibration tests the dummy had to withstand, and it is specially interesting to see how at the end of the test the door of the system (left side) starts bending and some “white things” start falling from the instrument. Those “white things” where actually pieces of adhesive that where used to attach one of the parts, which obviously wont be case in the final design, but due to some manufacturing problems it was not possible to screw the parts before the test, so a fast and improvised solution was made. The adhesive however, was not good enough to survive to the test:

As you can see, vibration is an important thing to consider when designing space hardware, and with SQUID we will also have to deal with it!