Sunday, February 21, 2010

XSAS Ground Testing Rig and Prototype Fabrication

Welcome back to the XSAS blog!

In this post I will explain my work on the payload/structures team building the ground testing rig for XSAS. I will also talk about the progress we are making on the XSAS prototype, the results of the thermal vac testing, and the rover structure we started building for the outreach program.

Before our microgravity flight we want to test the deployment of XSAS on the ground. The best way to do this is to have it extend horizontally on some kind of moving platform. The platform I designed is supported by ball bearing rollers and has a plate that clamps down on each end of XSAS. I recently machined both bottom plates and assembled the majority of these rolling platforms.

Progress continues on the XSAS prototype. The project's critical design review is this Thursday, and we want to show off the prototype to our faculty and peers. A majority of the parts have been machined and assembly will begin earlier this week.

Results from the thermal vacuum testing are in, and it's all good news. The hinges and scissors structure were tested in a vacuum at 100 degrees Celsius. The scissors structure successfully deployed, and the dyneema burn to release the structure occurred 5 seconds sooner. We concluded that there are no negative effects of thermal expansion on the hinges or scissors structure and that the dyneema likely melted faster due to the high temperature.

The outreach team has also started work on the rovers to be used for the "Build Your Own Rover" workshop series. We played around with our supplies and came up with the basic structure design for the rover chassis. The rovers will be made out of PVC pipes and use servos to control tires for movement and searing. The payload we will likely have the kids build will support a camera for a reconnaissance mission.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next weeks blog post.

Nathan McKay
Structures/Payload Team
Outreach Team
Systems Team

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