Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Preparation begins for systems and management reviews

As the team works to finish subsystem reports and testing, the dates for the key events concluding the Lunchsat programme for this year have been finalised.

Senior and line management have been invited to attend the events, which aim to gather the Lunchsat team, management and interested internal parties for a briefing on the progress made over the past twelve months.

The details of the final sessions scheduled for this year are as follows:

Afternoon Session: Thursday 8 July
Another of the standard afternoon work sessions to conclude work in preparation for the upcoming reviews. Work shall begin on the presentations required for the reviews.

Subsystem Reviews: Monday 19 to Tuesday 27 July
Separate technical review sessions allowing Astrium experts to meet with their respective subsystem team members, for the review of documents and results attained over the year.

Afternoon Session: Thursday 22 July
The final afternoon session of the year, scheduled for preparation of the Systems Review.

Systems Review: Wednesday 28 July
A videoconference between Portsmouth and Stevenage will allow the Lunchsat team to connect for a round-table review with Astrium systems experts. The experts will share their opinions and advice for the team following presentations from subsystem team members.

Management Review: Friday 27 August
The annual End-of-Year Management Review, concluding the Lunchsat graduate training programme in the Stevenage Viewing Gallery. In a slightly different approach to the session, project lead Nick Fishwick is set to deliver the presentation to management, summarising the benefits of the programme and the progress made over the past year and looking for inputs from team members to describe their experiences. Astrium senior management, including Chief Technical Officer Pat Wood, are set to attend. A team lunch will be organised to conclude the programme and celebrate the achievements of the team.

The End-of-Year Management Review signals the conclusion of Lunchsat progress for 2009-10. Stay tuned as preparation begins for the upcoming 2010-11 session!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Third lecture continues successful Space Systems series

The third session of the Space Systems lecture series has been delivered to the Lunchsat teams in Portsmouth and Stevenage via videoconference, this time on the subject of AOCS (the Attitude and Orbit Control System).

The guest speaker was Astrium AOCS expert Mark Watt, who delivered a half-hour session and answered the questions that followed from enthusiastic members of the team. The lecture gave a general introduction to the AOCS subsystem, discussing both the concept of Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC, of which AOCS is a subset), and different mission types that illustrated the subsystem. This was consolidated by a look at case studies focussing on three current and future space exploration missions: the Lisa Pathfinder, the MoonLITE penetrator and the ExoMars Rover.

Guidance computes the desired trajectory between two states as a function of time and constraints, and may be translational or attitudinal. Navigation receives inputs from sensors (such as gyrometers, accelerometers, star/Sun/Earth sensors, magnetometers, GPS) and computes them to return an estimated state of the spacecraft. Control computes the commands from actuators (such as magnetorquers, control gyros and thrusters), based on the difference between the estimated and guidance-provided states.

AOCS is a required subsystem in spacecraft engineering, and an integral part in the telecommunication and scientific spacecraft, Earth observation satellites and multi-mission microsatellites of today.

The recent series of 'Space Systems' lectures have been organised for the new graduates on the Graduate Development Programme of EADS Astrium, to allow a wider appreciation of the various areas and applications of spacecraft design as part of their experience on the Lunchsat microsatellite and Campus Management outreach initiatives.

Previous lectures have focused on antennas and the thermal, mechanical and on-board computer (OBC) subsystems. For further details of the content of these sessions and for more information on the initiative, check out the Training section of the Lunchsat website.