Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday and the Weekend

Friday was full of excitement with the Hypobaric chamber training. All the flyers (except me since I did it last year) had to be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoxia as well as learn about the effects of microgravity on the body. The students sit through a lecture in the morning that covers everything from workings in the inner ear to the dangers of hypoxia. Each flyer must stay awake during the lecture or they are not allowed to fly as well as successfully able to complete chamber training. Luckily all of our flyers passed and are ready to fly on Tuesday and Wednesday! 

Getting Ready for the Chamber
Tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Lab

Along with chamber training, the flyers and ground crew were invited to take a tour of the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. This lab houses mock ups of the entire space station. This is where they train the astronauts for mission ops and what they would exactly do up in space. We were lucky to actually be on the floor of this lab and be able to smell the chlorine of the pool. 

As the weekend followed, we continued to work on the experiment. Many last minute additions needed to be added to the chassis as well as XSAS. We've been busy over the weekend to get ready for our Test Readiness Review. More pictures and progress to come! 

Hard away at work!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 1: Welcome and Set up

Hey all! 

We finally made it down to Houston for microgravity flight testing! A lot of exciting events are afoot! We were greeted today by many of the NASA officials who we will be working with closely for the next few days. The morning consisted of filling out paperwork and getting the chassis ready to be taken in to the hanger while the afternoon we spent testing and continuing to assemble the chassis.  

 There has been a lot of exciting improvements and will continue as the next week goes on! We'll make sure to keep you posted, enjoy the photos! Tomorrow the flyers head in for hypobaric chamber training, more info to come!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Update

With flight week drawing near, we have been working hard to get XSAS up and running for flight! The flight crew and ground crew are here this summer working on finishing up the loose ends from the school year.

There has been a lot of progress from finals week until now. We have water-jet the first flight structure, started building and testing the chassis to test XSAS with, and have had a lot of changes to our C&DH system. The most notable is our switch to dataloggers. The original project was to develop from scratch a system that could write data to an SD Card. However, we were unaware of the challenges that faced us with trying to develop a system like this. Thus we have changed the architecture to dataloggers after a long, drawn out battle with trying to make our own datalogging system.

We currently have 23 days until we leave for Houston and a lot more testing and building ahead of us! Wish us luck and enjoy the photos of the progress we are making!


Assembling the first flight structure of XSAS 
Nathan working on XSAS 
Rachel soldering the LED lighting system together
Chassis Assembly 
Another View of the Chassis
Back up button pad

Monday, April 26, 2010

XSAS Demonstration and TEDP

This week each of the three teams, payload, structures, and C&DH, completed their TEDP and have worked extensively to complete the demonstration which will be held today (Monday April 26th, 2010) in the S3FL lab in the SRB building at 7PM. In this demo, we will showcase a working XSAS free-float model, the release mechanism chassis, and a basic working C&DH system. For the payload (i.e. free-float), the latching mechanism will be shown. For the structure, a working release mechanism and rotation mechanism will be showcased. Finally for the C&DH system, data will be taken from inputs (strain gauge and accelerometer) and written to an SD card. Even though it is the middle of finals period, all the students have been working diligently and long hours to reach our goal for a working demonstration model. We hope to see many of you tonight at our demonstration so don't miss it!

Vivek Kumar
EPS & C&DH Team LEad

Monday, April 19, 2010

Semester's End and TEDP

Last Saturday we had our last Outreach event which was a major success. Thank you to all the students and people who helped make this a great program. With classes coming to an end and our TEDP, Test Equipment Data Package, just around the corner, we’ll be busier than ever before. Most of our prototype is built and the chassis, electronics, and payload groups are making their way to a final ground testing rig. Our biggest focus remains on the highly important report, TEDP, which tests if XSAS is ready to fly or not. Most of the report has already been completed, however, the entire report needs to be finalized and each section needs to be carefully revised.
The payload and structure teams now have a completely built prototype and troubleshooting we will be focused with troubleshooting over the coming days. We will be manufacturing more parts as well so that we can meet the demand of a flight unit and chassis for all of our different components. Once these are completed we can move to test XSAS as a whole. With everyone’s exams and final school year preparations happening this week and the next, we still somehow manage to make strong progress on our project.  From me and the entire XSAS team, we thank you for following our program and hope that you continue to follow us over the summer as we complete XSAS and head for microgravity testing. 
Kyle Hagen
Payload and Structures Sub-Team

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Outreach and XSAS developments

So we had our second to last outreach event for the middle schoolers this past Saturday, and it went successfully. Out of all the team members who came to volunteer, we split into two separate groups to handle two different activities. The first activity was modifying and continuing to test the rovers outside while the second activity was to work and finish the powerpoint presentations. For the presentations, the students will present to their parents, XSAS team members, faculty, and staff next Saturday to conclude the entire outreach series. They will present on the separate structures, electrical, and payload components in their rovers. I was in the group helping out with the presentations and I am happy to say that student groups finished their presentations successfully. It was awesome to see that the students retained what they learned and made powerpoint slides that summarized what they learned in our outreach events.

As for our team, we are continuing to finish and complete our prototype at the Wilson Center while others are working on the TEDP report (it outlines and details our entire project and we need to submit this to NASA). Personally for me, I have been actively working on my portion of the TEDP report, which are the scissor structure and the release overview sections under the payload section. Everybody is going to be very busy with work during these last few weeks of the semester, so we will be putting extra effort into everything we do.

Andrew Lee
Payload and Structures Team Member

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Second Outreach Event and Updates on XSAS

Hi and welcome back to the XSAS blog!

We just held our second outreach event last weekend and it was hosted by the structures team. We wanted to teach the students about the importance of structures in engineering and how they could apply these concepts in building their own rover. They also had a fun activity where they could build and modify their own paper gliders to see how they could fly the best.

The students were split up into teams and with the help of XSAS team members, came up with structural designs for their rover. They had to figure out a way to protect and attach a camera to the rover chassis, as well as mount some batteries and a radio transceiver. The teams drew out their plans and held miniature design reviews and then were given the 'OK' to collect materials and start building! They had to creatively use the materials supplied (plastic bags, cardboard, balsa wood, paper cups, tape, and glue).

As for XSAS, we have done some significant building ourselves. All of the parts for our first prototype are nearly finished and we are beginning assembly. We have also begun testing of the NiChrome/Dyneema burn system that we will use to release XSAS during microgravity testing.

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more updates on XSAS and our outreach program!

Andrew Chou
Structures and Payload Team Member