My name’s Ernest and I’m one of the newest additions to the ISAAC team! I will be part of the mechanical team, and my work will revolve around the balancing of the units.
My work is relevant to the project because no matter how well you design all the electronics, the ejection system, etc., you need a very well-balanced unit so that when the rocket is launched, there aren’t any problems involving the static or dynamic stability that could very well mean a total disaster for the whole team.
This balancing will be achieved in two steps. First, a mathematical basis has to be developed so that we can model the Center of Gravity (CoG) and the Moments of Inertia (MoI) of the units. Afterwards, I have to design a physical setup to measure these quantities, using the CAD simulations to have an estimation of the values.
The physical layout is still in the design phase, but it will probably consist of a circular platform (where the units are placed) hanging from 3 wires from a fixed frame. With this setup, we can use a dynamometer to measure the forces in the wires and thus determine the location of the CoG. Then, we can spin the whole platform with the unit and determine the moments of inertia by looking at the period of oscillation of the platform, since they’re closely related.
Once all these quantities are measured, a set of balancing weights will be placed in the units in order to achieve perfect balance (or at least that’s the idea!). It is surely a challenging process, but because of this, I find it very interesting and worth spending my time with!