Friday, 28 March 2008

Kim Mitchell: Multi-Talented

Another victim for the profile sections...

Name: Kim Mitchell

Role within Lunchsat: Portsmouth Payload Lead, Member of Portsmouth Ground Station, Systems, ADCS, Power, Thermal

Role within Astrium: Engineer in Stress and Thermal Group

Nationality: Canadian-Portuguese

Most favourite type of lunch: Free lunch ('I'm not very picky')

Least favourite type of lunch: Paid lunch :)

Hopes: 'This lovely sunny weather will last a long time.'

Fears: 'Another rainy summer.'

Why did you join Lunchsat? 'To learn something new.'

What do you hope Lunchsat will achieve? 'Launch of equipment and a working satellite.'

Friday, 7 March 2008


On Thursday, some of the Portsmouth Groundstation crew tested the radio and had a first contact with our radio amateur teacher Paul Steed.

The conversation went something like this...

Lunchsat Portsmouth: 'CQ CQ CQ M3UJO this is a radio test CQ'

Paul Steed: 'G3*** copying you loud and clear, I'm based up in Farlington.....' etc.

Both Neil and Jon called out over the radio and spoke with Paul Steed and everyone else helped out operating the radio and antennas.

Just a quick summary of where Lunchsat Portsmouth is with regards to the groundstation:

- About to start testing the rotators, requiring us to get a PC up and running with some tracking software.

- Continuing to test the radio's functionality and are planning to talk to someone further afield using a local repeater, maybe even to some of you guys in Stevenage if you are interested?

- In discussions with sites and services about where we would like to put the antennas and are in the middle of producing some documentation for them.

- The cables need to be tested and the radio sensitivity.

- Orders will be placed for the antenna mast and supporting structure.

Our Dear Leader

After much bugging and hassling, here is the first of the profiles about people working on Lunchsat. It was appropriate to go for the jugular, so here it is.

Name: Ronan Wall

Role within Lunchsat: Project Management, Power

Role within Astrium: Mission Systems Engineer in the Science group.

Nationality: 'Irish, thank God.'

Most favourite type of lunch: 'Is there anything better than a grand pub lunch on a cold winter day after walking over a few fields to get there?'

Least favourite type of lunch: 'A working lunch when all they are interested in is talking in detail about a technology area that I know little about. Grim.'

Hopes: Ireland to win the 6 nations rugby *some* day.

Fears: Ireland losing to England in any year of aforementioned tournament.

Why did you join Lunchsat? 'To get hands on experience and own part of a satellite. Ironically, I've gravitated into managing the thing so there's less chance for hands on! However, some power subsystem action is keeping me entertained...'

What do you hope Lunchsat will achieve? 'Hopefully, it will allow junior engineers to own a satellite subsystem early in their careers, that it will provide education and development for both junior and mentor engineers, and we will get a fully integrated and tested satellite that is ready to launch. Finally getting the satellite to a launch pad is the ultimate goal. Anything after that is a bonus...'

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Is It A Bird? A Plane? Norfolk? No, It's Portugal!

The pretty pictures have arrived with an update from the Stevenage Groundstation. Here are two images received from the NOAA Weather Satellites from November/December.

To the right is a comparison between our image (top) with one from (bottom). You can see the North Atlantic with a slice of Portugal (not Norfolk) on the right. Above is a shot of Northern Europe with East Anglia and the North Sea visible in the left half of the picture (the sea is black by the way).

There's also a decoding of some Morse telemetry from LUSAT / LO-19. We now know that the Satellite box temperature #4 is 25 degrees Celsius, wow.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Can Do The Kessel Run In...

Neil Galbraith has taken the rotator controller kit ('LVB tracker') away to start building it this weekend hopefully.

However, if anyone else in the Portsmouth crew wants a shot at this, tools and soldering iron can be supplied, it should only take up one of your lunch hours.

There are actually 2 PCBs: a main board and a USB interface board. Almost all the parts are through-hole, so should be fairly easy to assemble to the PCB(s).

Any takers?

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

You’ve Got The Touch, You’ve Got The Power

From the triumphs of gaining their foundation radio licences, actual tangible hardware has arrived and is sitting waiting to be implemented. Antenna, radio, power supplies and the extraneous computer equipments that Portsmouth required to catch up with Stevenage on the groundstation stakes.

Construction will begin sooner rather than later.

Many thanks go out to Joanna Hall for purchasing our equipment, Kayti Harvey for IM support, Dan and Anthony for carting the computer equipment down for us, and our hardware/software suppliers.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Pass/Fail Criteria Has Been Met

Congratulations to those who attended and passed the foundation course for their amateur radio licence. It was two mornings, a lost weekend and maybe one too many glasses of wine on my part the night before.

For those that attended, listened and learnt, we all passed with flying colours (including the kid on the left of the picture above).

Here they are in no apparent order (apart from alphabetical if you look closely) (and A+ for the people with * by their names):

Robyn Crerar*, Nick Fishwick, Neil Galbraith, Enrique Granell Mena*, Pedro Lau Semedo, Kim Mitchell, Alessandro Modigliana, Andrew Quinn, Andrew Shum, Martin Wallace, Jonathan Ward.

Many thanks to Paul Steed and Peter Quinn for helping us in our endeavours, and also a mention to Jonathan Philips for sorting out the signals from the noise to get us onto this course.

Remember everyone, switch off the power before helping someone in trouble!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Pioneers and Hopeless Romantics

Keen pioneers or hopeless romantics, a chosen few have decided to get their call sign wings in the coming weeks. Just shows Lunchsat is moving in an encouraging and forward direction.

The following people have signed up for the radio licence course (in no apparent order):

Jonathan Ward, Neil Galbraith, Martin Wallace, Enrique Granell Mena, Andrew Shum, Kim Mitchell, Scott Rose, Allessandro Modigliana, Robyn Crerar, Andrew Quinn, Nicholas Fishwick.

Pictures will follow next week of fellow Lunchsatters studying hard to learn how to control a radio.

Additional Portsmouth news:

Ground station procurement is moving, quotes have been given, purchases will be made, and equipment will arrive;

Computer equipment courteously of the company has been given the OK to be in Lunchsatters hands.