Parts, parts, parts everywhere! They’re coming in every day; a small bearing, a few gears, even motors for testing!
As the mechanical design approaches its end phase and we’re crossing into the testing phase we can definitely feel the enthusiasm grow with every working hour. With our IPR (Interim Progress Review) on Thursday 12th we’re trying to fix as many loosen ends as we can. So the past few days have been packed with short meet-ups with our supervisors followed by intense design retouching.
Regarding our beloved RxSU major changes took place since my last post dedicated to the little buddy. Just a quick reminder, the unit is supposed to capture the incoming light of the TxSU and direct it towards its IR sensors and camera. In order for it to do so two stepper motors will control a mirror and the orientation of the unit. You can see an overview of the unit below.
I know, it looks pretty crowed and packed. And it is! We’ve put stacks of PCBs, sun sensors on the side, IR tube assemblies holding lenses and sensors, a camera, a battery, and frames and supports for all the parts. In some specific areas it comes down to millimeters in finding the best fit for everything. Just to give you a taste of how complicated designing is (and I don’t even want to think about manufacturing) here’s a photo of just the RxSU case:
Now, let’s try and see what will happen to the light once it goes in through the aperture hole we’ve cut out on the side of the case.
The light beam will be entering, just like it is shown in the picture above, from the lower left side and it will hit the mirror which is actuated with a small stepper motor and a gear train (in red). The blue rectangles sitting at a 90 degree angle with each other are the beam splitters. The first one will divide the light into two wavelengths, the visible one will go straight on through to the other side into the camera while the IR light will continue its way towards the second beam splitter. Here the light will be separated again, before entering the IR optics assemblies and hit the IR sensors.
The pictures taken by the camera and the sensors reading will be stored on flash memories right on those green PCBs for post flight analysis and also for the in flight control algorithm.
So keep close the final design is days away and it will be spectacular to see all the units assembled, even if only in CAD.
We’ve come a long way and it’s been a hard one, but hopefully in the end (which mind you, is not that far away), when everything comes together and the picture in the puzzle starts to take shape the countless hours of work will have paid off.
This is it for tonight. Keep in touch,