Another Hard Day in the REXUS Programme

Today started of a bit better then the day before considering the additional 75% of sleep. The morning was spent listening on different interesting presentations given at the symposium followed by the usual great lunch at the Casino. After lunch it was finally time for us to get some time to enjoy our surroundings. All participants were shipped out on the island of  Porquerolles where the groups was divided. I and David joined some other REXUS/BEXUS students, Adam and Helen on a bike trip to the closest beach. Well at the beach we enjoyed the wonderful water of the Mediterranean, some ice creams at the beach and the lovely  sun. Much to soon it was time to head back for the boat but we still had time for a beer before. Well back at the main land everything happened very quickly since there was a REXUS/BEXUS event planned immediately we did not get time enough to go home and shower which made the dress code very relaxed. This was not a problem though since everyone were in the same situation. Me and David goth our diplomas and then a group photo was taken. We then finally could make it back to the hotel for a shower before the evening continued with beers at the same bar as monday night. Tomorrow will be the last day of the symposium and will end with a vineyard dinner so we are looking forward to that.

Presentation and Tour of the City

So after the very nice evening yesterday we did not get many hours of sleep until it was time to be on place for the days lectures. Today was actually the day of our own presentation which we performed at 9:20 this morning, we received some great comments after it so we assume it went well. There where also other teams presenting today like M-BEAM and CASS-E. After a day full of valuable conversations in the exhibition hall it was time for the tour of the city. The guide took us through the old town and showed us many nice views. It all ended up on the mountain where drinks and snacks were served. The day ended with dinner at the restaurant in old town where we had beers the first night. Now we´re getting to bed to catch up on some sleep.

Celebrating a successful campaign

As the case is for the end of most hectic periods in life one of course needs to end them by a great party. During a launch campaign this is done at the campaign party. Originally the idea was that is should have taken place during thursday night but since REXUS10 was successfully launched already by wednesday this plan was changed because as Olle said “everyone will celebrate during Wednesday night anyhow so we can just as well have the party by then as well”. The deal for the party was that Esrange would arrange food and beverage while the teams had to arrange the entertainment. Our idea was to arrange a bloopers video which David edited during the last hours before the party with some help from the rest of the team. At seven o clock all teams gathered outside the canteen where Olle explained the idea for the night which was that we would use standing tables in order to get more circulation in between the different teams. Thereafter we all went in to the canteen to get some food, the Esrange cooks had prepared a great meal based on beef which had been grilled on the outside in the cold during the afternoon. The food was in deed great! During the dinner the entertainment started. The contributions from the different teams were of great variation. The Explore team had for example made a great video which had been recorded by their camera on the side of the REXUS9 rocket, while Sponge had arranged a art display where different people characterized known art pieces, Telescobe had written a great song about the failing door of their experiment. During the night Olle also handed out two prices to the teams. The prices were for the friendliest team and for the most technical advanced / scientific experiment and the winners had been decided by voting among all teams. The price for the friendliest team went to Telescobe with their great Irish spirit. When the second price was given Olle said that he had never seen such a clear majority in the voting and asked if the audience could guess who the winner was. I was much surprised by hearing how the whole audience at once shouted SQUID SQUID SQUID SQUID! We could not have been more proud then we were then! The last event of the official part of the night was to hand out diplomas to all participants this was conducted by captain Australia who came flying in to the canteen in is shiny blue suit. What happened after the official part of the night will stay among the teams but I can tell you this, the night was not over by far and I´m quite sure that everyone had quite an hangover the day after, at least so did I.

 

Leaving Esrange

After two amazing weeks the time have come to leave Esrange. The team is currently in the car and we left Esrange for about two hours ago. Even if this marks the end of the launch campaign this does not mean that the project is finished. We will have plenty of work to do in order to evaluate the results of the project. This will end up in a number of documents. We also hope to be able to go to the 20th ESA Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and Related Research. Which will take place in Hyéres, France, between the 22nd and 26th of may. The final report of the project will be the last version of the SED which will be handed in at the end of June. Under this period we will try our best to keep the blog updated!

The SQUIDMOBILE at the gate of Esrange

SQUID PASSED EAR!!! (Hurray :D)

The battle is won but the war is not yet over.

Today SQUID had it’s EAR (Experiment Acceptance Review) which is the last review before delivery. We pushed through limited time, stressfull days, missing components, late workshop evenings, burning electronic boards, short circuited batteries, system failures, moodswings etc. and finally got through the EAR with positive results.

Mikael Inga was visiting us from the Swedish Space Corporation to carry out the EAR and most of the team was present to discuss and demonstrate the experiments current functionality. The day started of at 9:30 in the morning with a check through what has been done on earlier comments recieved from REXUS and what tests we have performed since last IPR.  Just before lunch we started of by demonstrating the functionality and workings of the experiment interface electronics and after lunch followed a more thorough experiment functionality demonstration in which we let the system run through parts of the intended operational phases finally leading to the moment of thruth, the decision. SQUID has passed EAR but as always there are comments and things to care about but nothing came up that we weren’t already aware of.

Next up is delivery and the team will now take the weekend off to recuperate from the last two weeks of battle because on monday we need to pick up the pace even further. Systems have to be fully tested, fligh boards assembled to the ebox and tested, assembly of a second FFU has to start and everyone should be happy and prepared for hard work (at least us slaves have to be) otherwise the big boss will come after us with his grand master-whip which he talks so much about nowadays 😛

Untangling the rat's nest

Mark writes

Over the past while Nickolay and I have been making the finishing touches on the SMILE board and running some tests and modifying the firmware of the previous LAPLander model. With the SMILE board is just about ready for production, the focus has shifted to my other responsibilities in SQUID, namely the SMILE interface board and the Uniprobe/EFP board.

The completed SMILE board

As Mónica has mentioned previously, the components have been placed and after much deliberation we have settled on the positioning of the external and internal connectors. This is quite critical because it affects the physical structure of the ebox and also the placement of components on the boards, so we have had to play tennis with Jiangwei to decide what is possible and what is not.

Only a few more connections left to route.

Even with this decided, I soon discovered the uniprobe board was incredibly packed and shifted the FPGA and memory up to the SMILE interface board, requiring yet another connector between the two boards. This freed up quite a lot of space although, as you can see, it is still pretty tight. There are over 2500 connections in SQUID and it seems like more then half of them are on the uniprobe board alone. It is an incredible challenge to get everything routed while doing one’s best to stick to good design principles, but it is also a lot of fun. Of course this will need some iteration to get it just right, but we’ll get there.

SQUID vid Esrange – Måndag morgon

På måndagmorgonen började det (spännande) allvaret. Vi ha precis haft en introuktionsföreläsning följt av en säkerhetsföreläsning. Den senare började med ett ganska läskigt exempel på vad som kan gå fel när man hanterar kraftfulla raketer, även de relativt små som skjuts upp här på Esrange. Man måste jorda sig när man arbetar direkt med raketen, och inga mobiltelefoner får tas med in på uppskjutningsområdet när det är dags.

Jag fick precis hoppa fram och dra en kort introduktion av vårt team. Våra teamtröjor med SQUID-loggan är populära! 🙂