LASP Activities. August marked the end of the summer push at LASP to complete the first phase of the flatsat development. With some students graduating and moving on to permanent jobs we will be taking a brief respite to regroup before proceeding with production of the flight units. Major accomplishments in August include:
- Completed the avionics boards (EPS and C&DH) fabrication and assembly.
- Completed software to emulate subsystem telemetry and commanding.
- Completed the ADCS simulation environment.
More specifically, key accomplishments in August include:
- Completed key documents preparatory to the flight build, including: Mission Requirements Document, General Design Requirements, Subsystem Requirements, System Engineering Management Plan, Verification Plan, System Integration & Test Plan, Requirements Documentation Procedure, and many others.
- Extended the design archive structure with placeholders for Verification Reports and As-Run Test Procedures.
- Participated in the (very large) Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah. The Systems Engineering and ADCS teams (Nic Ferrington, Danielle Nuding, Lee Jasper) represented CICERO. Lee gave a presentation that was well received and that led to many follow-on discussions. There was near universal support for our effort to prove the weather data-buy model.
- Completed the RO portion of ADCS code.
- Conducted a final requirements review.Developed data processing simulation software.
- Released detailed drawings of the primary and secondary structure.
- Completed Coarse Sun Sensor (CSS) diode thermal testing; results indicate the diodes are robust and stable over our thermal extremes.
- The diodes have been bonded into the CSS housing (figure below).
Attitude Determination & Control System (ADCS):
- Demonstrated full telemetry strings can be passed correctly between laptops running simulation software and the CDH proto-board.
- Completed high-level test plans for ADCS.
- Completed software flow diagram along with many related design documents.
- Added a wheel speed momentum check for thrust valve closure.
- Implemented inertial reference unit and star tracker frames in the flight software.
- Finalized computer simulations detailing the performance of the CSS estimation routines and incorporated into two conference papers presented at the AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference.
- Standardized the output printed by the ADCS code and created a sample plotting script that plots all basic simulation information.
- Enforced LASP flight software coding guidelines upon all ADCS code.
- Completed the X-Band and S-Band emulator software and hardware solution for testing interfaces to the flight radio. The emulator has comm interfaces and I/O interfaces that mimic the behavior of the flight radios.
- Reviewed all schematics of RF system interfaces and readied for released.
- Submitted all other development documents for archiving.
Electrical Power System (EPS):
- Built up the new engineering model EPS PWBA. All hardware tested to date works properly and is incorporated into the flatsat.
- Engineering model of the coarse sun sensor was tested with new EPS board.
Command and Data Handling (C&DH):
- Updated the C&DH chip (FPGA) to version a.19, refining the design and improving performance. Verified operation of the transmitter logic.
- Finalized C&DH and EPS register definitions and initialization.
- Added ADCS component state machine commands.
- Updated to latest version of ADCS flight software and spacecraft structure.
- Interfaced to C&DH ADCS stub functions and gathered functional and performance data for known inputs and validated outputs.
- Measured execution time.
- Generated telemetry packets, captured downlink frame with X-band test equipment.
- Generated uplink frame with S-band test equipment.
- Completed magnetometer software validation/verification effort.
- Tested code for ADCS component base-level simulation and integrated to C&DH development board.
- Built transmitter interface test hardware and telemetry capture code, completed initial testing.
- Built receiver interface test hardware and uplink code, completed initial testing.
On the Hill. H.R. 2413, the US Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2013 (see reports for June and July) is moving forward in the House and may receive a floor vote in late September or October. Thanks to all of you who have contacted your representatives to express your support. We continue to work diligently to strengthen its language concerning commercial satellite data buys by NOAA and are confident of success, though the bill will still face similar scrutiny in the Senate. It is gratifying to see so many legislators from both parties supporting commercial space.
That said, I would not want to leave the impression that our success rides on this bill. Far from it. As I have noted several times, current law and national policy strongly encourage commercial space and in some cases require it. Let me review the basics for newer readers. The most relevant national doctrines on this are enshrined in the Space Act of 1998 (amended multiple times since) and U.S. Remote Sensing Policy,
as updated about four years ago.
If the U.S. government is seeking a space product that is available from a U.S. company, the Space Act and U.S. policy mandate that they obtain it commercially and not seek to create a competing government operation. The Space Act exists to:
- Ensure that the U.S. Government meets their space-related requirements, to the fullest extent feasible, using commercially available space goods and services;
- Ensure that the Government does not compete with U.S. commercial providers of space hardware and services.
U.S. Remote Sensing Policy affirms this specifically for space remote sensing: “U.S. companies are encouraged to build and operate commercial remote sensing space systems.” In furtherance of this, the U.S. Government will:
- Rely to the maximum practical extent on U.S. commercial remote sensing space capabilities for military, intelligence, homeland security, and civil users;
- Acquire and operate Government systems that collect data only when such data are not offered and will not be made available by U.S. commercial remote sensing space systems. [The data need not be available today, just on its way.]
The Policy further states that:
- Agencies shall allocate the resources required to implement these objectives within the policy and resource guidance of the President and available appropriations.
Meaning: Agencies must provide for this within their already appropriated budgets.
These virtually assure that the government will be a GeoOptics customer if we are first able to produce the data. Because several U.S. agencies (NOAA, USAF, Navy, NASA, NSF) are in hot pursuit of new GPS RO data, and have been for some years, if such data should come to market from a domestic supplier at a competitive price they must obtain it from the commercial source in preference to any government program. There are no planned government programs that will provide appreciable RO data at mid and high latitudes (where nearly everybody needs it), before 2020.
Climate Mobile Coming Online? A few months ago I received a letter from a group of scientists at several Australian universities reading as follows:
We are writing to you from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, an international climate modelling research consortium of five Australian universities and national and international partner organisations. We have recently had a look at your CliMate app on iPhone and were very impressed.
…we are in the process of exploring how we can bring exactly this kind of collected observational information to our webpage and in a similar manner. We are hoping to … determine how we could create something similar on our website.
They have now received funding and staffed up to produce something similar and I am providing (free) consultation. While the final product will undoubtedly look quite different, we will soon have an Internet source to deliver this kind of up-to-date information to the world.