Update in Look Angles and Azimuth Angles

For Isaac-Rx to track Isaac-Tx, we need to know the orientation from Tx to Rx. Thus we define look angles and azimuth angles to describe the orientation.

Angle definition

Recently, we have made some progress in look angles and azimuth angles. We took into account drags, winds and ejection angles in simulations, to understand the effect of winds and ejection angles on look angles.

0 40

All the graphs were obtained on the base of adding drags, but one set was based on without wind, while the other one was based on with wind, and at the same time, the ejection angles changed.

From these figures, we can see that winds affect the look angles a little when the ejection angles are same. However, the ejection angles have a large effect on the look angles. Above is our conclusion.


“Test what you fly, fly what you test.” – NASA

So here we are, a little behind schedule but in good spirit preparing for the next phase of our epic journey: testing!

With most of the design fixed in place and fewer and fewer parts to be ordered we’re heading straight towards it! The electronics guys have already started tweaking and testing their “little toys” and have come up with a sturdy test plan this week. Our balancing expert, Ernest, has been working on his balancing setup and just a few days ago me and Audrey helped him cut the bars from which our beloved units will be suspended. Progress has also been made on other fronts as well and a nice feeling of convergence loomed in the library where we work the past couple of days.

We enjoyed designing our experiment and gathering ideas around the main concept but now it is time to see if everything we came up with fits and works nicely together as is does on paper. Stay with us for updates, pictures and videos! It shall not be disappointing!


Updates on balancing

Hi everyone! This last weeks I’ve been really busy working to have the balancing setup ready as soon as possible; but there have been some advances in the topic.

First of all, let’s take a look at a picture of the CAD model for the whole setup:

whole assembly

As you can see, the whole setup is supported by a triangular frame with triangular legs; frome this frame, a circular platform hangs from three really thin cables (about 0.41 mm in diameter), and over this platform we place our units (Tx and Rx, together with the CU) so that we can measure and calculate the position of the Center of Gravity and the components of the tensor of inertia of said units.

If things go well, all the physical setup should be completely built by next week, and then the testing period can begin; of course, we have to calibrate and test the setup before actually using it for the real units (anyway, I have to wait until the units are completely assembled!)

It’s actually really exciting to see that what you have designed (on paper and with CAD) is coming to the real world! But as always, I’m finding that things are not so easy to do in the physical world, but I’ll get through, that’s why we are engineers!


Gathering a new team for the next REXUS proposal!

Hej everyone!

No spoilers, we are not telling you what the new REXUS project is about! Since the first project, LAPLander, the KTH team have faced crazier and crazier challenges, involving FFUs more or less big and giving some cold sweats to a few MORABA engineers.

So here we are again, the REXUS call for proposal is opened until October 21st. On thursday 26, we have been invited to present the REXUS/BEXUS programme to the new Aerospace master students. Team members of SQUID, RAIN, MUSCAT and, of course ISAAC, will be gathered for this presentation.¬†We hope to convince a lot of new students to join this amazing programme, reminding them it might be some work but it’s also about fun, travelling and meeting space enthusiasts from all over Europe!

We will update pictures just after the presentation!

(and if you are a KTH student and want to join the new team, you have until October 6 to contact us)






Some progress in electronics

Past couple of weeks were not as productive as I hoped.

Software development was a bit stalled due to difficulties with the image processing, but there is some progress on other fronts. Namely SmartFusion2 with its 484 pins has been physically assessed and during next week I will be heavily developing schematics for the tracking system. And I have started using MGC cad software. Its a bit old fashioned and not really to my taste, but its still quite powerful, so it should be interesting.

Motor control has been fully developed. Last thing that should be tested is the inertia that the motor should be able to coupe with. But from the software point of view its just a couple of constants like acceleration speed and frequency of updates to be changed in the process.

The electronics team has also become bigger, so the work should go faster from now on.

Dipping a toe into interstellar space

Did you hear the news of last week?

Obviously there’s a lot of stuff going on down here on Earth, but that’s now what I want to talk about here. Something else has happened, about 18 billion kilometres away. Right on the edge of the Solar System.

Last week, NASA announced that their Voyager 1 space probe has entered interstellar space. This is the first man-made object to leave our Solar System! That is amazing news, not only for scientists and space enthusiasts. I’m very excited about what Voyager will discover – even though I’m not an astrophysicist and don’t know much about all that plasma and whatever else is around there.

Some of you may not know what Voyager is, so here a short description: Voyager 1 is a spacecraft that was launched in 1977 to explore the outer Solar System. It passed by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980, and after that the mission was extended to explore the outer regions and boundaries of the heliosphere – the region in space that is dominated by our Sun. It is still working and gathering data – although some parts have been shut down because the battery of course doesn’t have the initial power levels anymore. And the communication must be quite tricky: at that distance, it takes over 17 hours for a signal to arrive at the spacecraft, and of course another 17 hours for the answer to come back.

Among all the interesting data gathered by Voyager, one thing stands out: a photograph taken in 1990, titled Pale Blue Dot, which is the most distant picture of the Earth ever taken – at a distance of 6 billion kilometres.

The Pale Blue Dot

The Earth is barely visible in this picture taken by Voyager at a distance of 6 billion kilometres.

There would be lots to say about Voyager, but I’m going to stop here. If you’re interested, here are some links: