New start

The end of July is coming.  With my laborious colleagues, we have finished a lot on CDR so far. For most of Isaac team members, the summer holiday is about to end; and for me, it is over and also a start point of a new academic year. After a long and nice vacation, I feel relaxed and full of energy. At this moment, I would like to summarize my previous work and plan the next task.

As for my part, the flight dynamics, we got possible flight trajectories and landing zones through simulations as well as the attitude trajectories. And the next, I will continue to the attitude analysis in a more complicated and actual situation, considering the balance of FFUs.


Let’s go on the way again!


ISAAC around the world

Hullo everybody,

Holidays are upon us and I’m hoping all is well with your summer plans and that things are following their precise schedule. I will pick up on this opportunity to write an outreach article rather than focusing on the work being done to finish up the FFU’s design or the tweaking of our SED.

There are many perks to being part of a team of international students but I won’t be spending time describing them since I deem it impossible to envelop such an experience in a few rows. So for the curious ones I’ll just say: go ahead and take the bull by the horns, you won’t regret it.

What I want to focus on instead is the one drawback: summer break hits and everyone scatters around the globe on vacation, back home or to places still void of the wonder we call internet. Everything seems to slow down and communication between members is reduced to a bare minimum.

In consequence, the head of our “outreach department” came up with the splendid idea (on which our “electronics wizard” improved); since we’re all going to be travelling to different places we should take pictures of us wearing the ISAAC t-shirt in front of, on top or anywhere near a monument, building or a place that is representative for the city or area we find ourselves in, in order for our followers to guess.

We’ll try to make it fun, interactive and challenging. To start it off here’s a picture of me relaxing on a nice patch of grass in front of 47 flags.

ISAAC around the world, location one

ISAAC around the world, location one

More pictures from other members and the “unveiling” of the prize to come.

So I’ll just leave you with this: “Where’s ISAAC?”



Picture from the camera

Most of the electronics team have gone on vacation, but progress is still being made in this area. Inserted below is the first image shot with the actual camera that we will use in the experiment. It shows an oscilloscope stacked on a power supply, very interesting.  As you can see, it is very over exposed and have a low bit depth, but this will soon be much better.

Picture from camera

So, how do we get this image from the camera chip to the computer? The image below shows the camera chip to the right and another chip to the left. This PCB has memories to store the image and a kind of programmable logic chip called FPGA to communicate with the camera. All the wires between them are used to communicate and to send the image from the camera.

The image is captured by the FPGA and stored in a fast but small memory/buffer. This buffer then writes the image to the flash memories which is large but slow in comparison. Then a serial cable is used to read the image from the flash memories with help from the FPGA. This is read out in a terminal on the computer as HEX-code. This kind of communication is very slow and the first image was large, so this step took more than an hour! Then, the data has to be processed in Matlab to be interpreted as an image, rather than the HEX text we read from the memories.

Camera setup

Summer work for the ISAAC team


It has been a while since our last post… This end of the year was quite busy: exams had arrived (rough time for students) and we also had to prepare our Critical Design Review(CDR). Since, it is now summer time, we will post an article a week until September.

As you may have seen on our facebook page, three weeks ago we were back at DLR, near Munich to present the final design of our experiment (CDR). The experts were quite pleased with our presentation and the work we had accomplished since the Preliminary Design Review. We returned to Stockholm with useful comments and a good feeling that our experiment design was going the right way. Meanwhile, Jorge, our electrical engineer had the chance to stay a few more days to attend a soldering course!

It is now mid-July – and the French National day by the way ! 😉 –  some members of the team are still working on ISAAC in Stockholm while the rest of the team has scattered around Europe (but no worries, our time will come!).

All I can say about the ejection system is that it is looking quite good, we almost have the final design. We are currently running stress analyses on the critical parts (the hooks for instance) to verify that they will tolerate the launch loads (which is to say 30 g in the vertical direction).

Here is a view of the ejection system:

Ejection System

While the analyses are being performed, I also have to make drawings of the parts. When these two tasks are over, it will finally be time for ordering, manufacturing and later testing. I hope to show you pictures of the RMU parts soon !