Monday, January 25, 2010

Structure and Payload

Hi there, and welcome back to the XSAS blog.  In this post, I'll be explaining what's going on in the structure and payload subsystems as well as shedding some light on the overall progress of the project over the past week.

First of all, you should know what the payload and structure refer to. The payload of XSAS is, well, the extendable solar array system.  It's all of the mechanical parts of XSAS that will deploy, including the scissor structure, locking bolts, and frame.
The structure on the other hand refers to the larger, approximately 40 inch x 20 inch x 20 inch frame that will hold XSAS in the aircraft while we fly.  Because we don't know how exactly a satellite carrying XSAS would be released in space, we also need the structure to be able to spin XSAS about an axis before releasing it.  We want to simulate the worst case scenario of deployment, and ensure that our system will survive.

This week, I worked on a trade study of printed circuit boards, or PCB's.  PCB's will be used in the experimental XSAS flight instead of solar panels.  Each board will be outfitted with stress and strain gauges to measure the forces during flight.

Others in the structure and payload team worked on designing a way to test parts of XSAS in a vacuum chamber, as well as ordering parts to start building prototypes. Team members refined the camera mounting design as well as the latching mechanism.

Stay tuned for next week's update :)

Clark Hoffman
Structure and Payload Team Member

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