Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Problems with OBC startup issue resolved

A faulty power regulator is to blame for the recent problems had in starting up the on-board computer (OBC).

Matthew Ashworth and Andrew White travelled from Portsmouth to the Lunchsat lab in Stevenage to work alongside the OBC and Imager teams to identify the power regulator at the root of the problem. A replacement has now been ordered, alongside a new power surge protector and fixed voltage power supply, for installation next week -- when further testing will take place to ensure the problem is not being caused by other subsystems and that the new equipment minimises stress on the new regulator.

More satellite design work and testing hours will be required over February to ensure the project remains on schedule. Results of hardware testing are to be published in advance of the upcoming Review sessions, to be held with technical experts and senior management.

The OBC startup issue should be resolved by early February. The Mid-Term Review with technical experts is scheduled for early March; the End-of-Year Review with management is set to conclude progress mid-June.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Lunchsat documentation now standardised

Having recently been tasked with the implementation of a new document system, Systems has delivered it. Documents can now be stored and referenced through new processes and controls, ushering in a new era of standardisation for Lunchsat.

Having first designed a new document template for all Lunchsat documentation based on the Astrium corporate guidelines, members of the System subsystem team proceeded to design the new handling system, headed up by subsystem lead Graham Johnson.

Fatou Mbaye has drafted a unique reference system of document identification codes which is now in immediate effect. Newly configured documents are stored in the Lunchsat Portal, an internal collaboration environment for the sharing of knowledge and information on the Lunchsat project.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

First Space Systems lecture a success

The first lecture of the new Space Systems lecture series was held for the Lunchsat and Campus Management initiative teams of EADS Astrium earlier today, and was a success based on the high turnout and interest in the subject.

Members of both teams enthusiastically engaged with the speaker of the first topic 'On-Board Computing for Spacecraft', which promoted awareness of computational requirements not just for a microsatellite such as Lunchsat, but also for spacecraft in general.

Space places limitations on electronics technology in terms of mass, power and volume as the harsh environment applies mechanical and thermal stress to spacecraft components. Radiation from space is a major consideration for software, as ionization can flip the bits in binary code which could result in the failure of the OBC and other electronic devices. The damaging effects of this radiation can be mitigated by heavy shielding of the OBC inside the spacecraft. Striking the right balance is a tricky affair: faster processors can become hotter by consuming more power, whereby smaller ones are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.

The lecture went on to present examples of on-board processing currently being developed -- including the data management, payload data handling and visual processing units of the Gaia spacecraft, which aims to survey a billion stars in five years.

For more details and the full presentation, visit the new Training section of our Lunchsat website.

Space Systems lecture series begins

The project manager of Lunchsat, Nick Fishwick has teamed up with Jessica Housden of Campus Management, the other graduate initiative of EADS Astrium, to organise a series of lectures about space systems engineering.

These internal lectures, part of the Space Systems series for Lunchsat and Campus Management, aims to connect the two teams with experts in the field to supplement graduate training and facilitate knowledge transfer between the two graduate initiatives.

The lunchtime sessions are to occur for both teams on the second Thursday of each month from now until July, 13:00 - 13:30 with each aiming to cover one of seven topics about space system engineering, the basic foundation for microsatellite development.

The schedule is set to cover the OBC and Software (January), Mechanical (February), Antennas and RF (March), Payload (April), Thermal (May), Propulsion (June) and ADCS (July).