Yet another busy week…it is amazing how quickly this summer is flying by. My parents and grandmother were in town for my birthday last Wednesday, so we toured around for the weekends, and it was yet another busy week in the lab, as there was a major system in the satellite we needed to modify before launch.
One of the experiments in ³Cat-1 is a Wireless Power Transfer, executed between two coils mounted on parallel PCBs, which must be deployed from the satellite after it is jettisoned from the P-Pod, as they stick out about 1 inch beyond the walls of the satellite, which would prevent it from being ejected. In case you are not familiar with what a P-Pod is, check this out.
In the original design, the coil is held in with fishing line, and a rubber band pushes it outward when the line is melted by the heat generated by a resistor. In our meeting last Wednesday, a member of the team reported that the system was not reliable enough to be launched, so we needed to quickly find a more reliable solution.
Fortunately, one of the members of our team works on robotics in his spare time, so he has a lot of small, light motors, perfect for the tight space we have to work with – about 2 cm. After a few hours in SolidWorks, here is what we designed.
Effectively, the motor is held by the white, 3-D printed case, and it turns an M4 screw (center). As it turns, it pushes an aluminum (chosen to ensure the threads will not break during launch) block, connected to the coils, outward. The motor is connected to the screw by a shaft collar designed for this part. Below is a video of the assembled system in operation. We will assemble the full satellite tomorrow for what we hope will be the final time, and the next two weeks will be pure testing, so everything will be ready to deliver.
When I describe this summer to anyone, I say that I’m an engineer and student on weekdays and tourist on weekends – a part-time tourist as it were. This was especially true during the past two weekends, as they included a trip to la Sagrada Familia, Girona and the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueres, and Montserrat (for the second time – see Anjit’s post for the first time). Above all, it was excellent to spend time with my family and share Barcelona – and its food – with them. Here are a few highlights of our trips…
Yesterday, we were walking in the Gothic quarter near the Cathedral, and we saw a band playing music, and groups of Barcelonans were dancing Sardanes (we saw three) in the square.
More news once the satellite is assembled with the new coil deployment system…