We’ve got a rocket module!

After months of waiting and countless back and forward emails with technical drawings and specifications our rocket module has finally arrived on Swedish soil. The module is our ride ticket in the REXUS rocket and it will carry our experiment to the edge of space. You can catch a glimpse of the funky fellow below.

And they also had it in our favorite color - KTH blue!

And they also had it in our favorite color – KTH blue!

The grids supporting our experiment units inside the module also arrived the week before Christmas. Talk about timing…

Here you can see a picture of how the experiment will look inside the rocket module.

RxSU standing proud of it's aperture hole!

RxSU standing proud of its aperture hole!

TxSU showing off it's IR lamp and a couple of LEDs.

TxSU showing off its IR lamp and a couple of LEDs

As everything fits just like in the CAD all that is needed for the ejection tests are a few parts which we are to manufacture ourselves. Unfortunately for our beloved experiment people tend not to work too much during holidays 😀 but alas, we are almost done partying and we shall return with high hopes and rejuvenated spirits.

Interesting times ahead my fellow ISAAC-ers as we approach the finish line in May. I’ll be waiting for you all to return safely to Stockholm, to share stories, joy and, of course, some of that well renowned French/Swiss cheese 🙂

Happy holidays and a Happy New Year to all,



Hello everyone,

Experiment Acceptance Review (EAR) is coming up soon, more specifically, it is on this Thursday. The preparation about the project is ongoing. I wish I could show you some development on the flight dynamics. Unfortunately, I am in a trouble adding the drag torque into the dynamic model of 6 degree of freedom. Sorry for this. The look angle and the azimuth angle looked strange, very different from the previous one when the drag torque was not considered. There were so many parameters that I had no idea what lead to this strange result. According to our supervisors, in order to check all the parameters, we should start with a simple case. Therefore, I started with a very simple case,  the FFU falls down, only drag in vertical direction, no wind,  which is helpful to figure out  this problem. I feel this is not an easy task, which will take some time. I hope I can get a reasonable result soon.

Our workshop and IKEA have something in common…

…they both lack windows. No windows – no sunlight, no sunlight – no track of time. At IKEA you buy spoons, as Bill Bailey so intuitively pointed out on QI (a show which I highly recommend), but in our workshop you clamp, you mill, you lathe, you file…

With the EAR (Experiment Acceptance Review) around the corner — most likely next week on the 19th — all of ISAAC is working double shifts (except french people who, as always, chose to party instead…) in order to be as prepared as possible and of course show off. As you have seen in the previous post the electronics guys are working around the clock soldering and testing the little flat, green slices of magic that are the PCBs. We (the mechanical team), on the other hand, spend our days with oily hands and rolled up sleeves tinkering with milling and lathing machines. In just about 2 weeks we’ve gotten very far in terms of “what does this button/lever do” and now we have the confidence to tackle manufacturing issues just like …ah, I’ll let the .gif do the talking. 

So we started up easy, focusing on the Aluminium parts, while we got accustomed to the machines (see previous post by Audrey), but now we’ve moved on to “reshaping” steel into trickier parts. Just today we fiddled around with this:


A part which its designer so originally named “14.008 Corner Rounding”

Doesn’t it look cute and cuddly in the CAD ? Well, in reality it’s a nasty beast. It took us about a day to lathe the groove and cut it to its specified dimensions, losing 2 or 3 pointy, sharpy, golden tools in the process (weep not for I am sure they are in Tool-Valhalla with all their relatives and brave ancestors). Then again today, we battled for about 5 hours to cut it in half. And millimeter by millimeter we conquered it! But we’re only half the way through, with it needing to be a quarter of a cylinder and all…


Half clamped, half flying off!


Do I look content or what ?

Tomorrow we start before sunrise! And by Odin we shall slice it again!

Party for Friday, with P Standing for PCB

Greetings everyone,

With the first snow, here comes the PCB’s that the electrical team has been longing for.Image

I bet that I saw some sparkling in the members’ eyes when they first saw the PCB’s.

I simply wish that there won’t be any when they are testing them…  Just a joke.

I would like to thank every member for his hard working recently, especially Jorge’s constant assistance, Nickolay’s review on the design, and of course, the opportunity that this project provides to us.




Although the end is approaching, members in this team are staying late to get the soldering done.  Hope that it can be done soon.

Thanks for reading this post.  Just don’t tell the electrical team how great your Friday night was.

Wish all of you a great weekend!

And to the electrical team, good job!



From CAD to manufacturing, one step closer to Space

Hej everyone,

After hours of CAD-ing, many analyses and drawings, it is finally time to manufacture!

I started with the balconies, 12 L-shaped aluminium parts linking the supporting grids to the vertical connectors. At first sight, this seemed as an easy part, L-shaped, three countersunk screw holes. However, I didn’t really have any experience in manufacturing so I first had to learn how to use the milling machine, drill and saw (which was fun :D).


We started by selecting the raw material, a long L-shaped 4 mm thickness aluminium bar. We cut it into 24 rough parts ( yeah, we knew we were going to fail some of them). With the milling machine, we adjusted the dimensions of the balconies and finally used a drill to realize the countersunk screws. Meanwhile we had received the vertical connectors (perfect timing!). These parts, which are quite sophisticated, were ordered.  After several hours spent in the workshop with my pleasant manufacturing buddy Vlad, we were finally done and the balconies were screwed to their connectors ( and they fitted :D)

2013-11-25 16.29.34

Connector & balconies

After the balconies, I started to work on the steel plates used to restrain the ejection cable. As the cable is also made of steel, it is better to have a steel-to-steel connection; otherwise the cable would just dig into the aluminium. Cutting these plates took us more time,steel is harder than aluminium… With the help of the engineers from the workshop, we set up a horizontal saw to cut the steel plates. Next week, I will mill them and add the screw holes.


That’s all for today! One more thing though: good luck to the new KTH team heading to ESTEC next week for the REXUS/BEXUS selection workshop! 😀