If it seems like it’s been a while since I’ve written, understand that things have been very busy around here. Between lots of great progress in the lab and some breathtaking sites around the city, there has been plenty to do. It is definitely weird thinking that this is our final week here – this summer really flew by…
The Satellite is Assembled and Tested
Continuing the good news from previously, we were able to complete the final assembly of CubeCat-1 a few weeks before the end of July, when most of UPC shuts down for the summer. It’s clear that it’s a product of a lot of years of hard work, and I’m honored to have been even a part of its completion.
Once it was assembled, there was still one last step to be completed – acceptance testing. The group handling the launch later this year has a few requirements to ensure that everything it is launching will survive the process without damaging the other payloads on the same rocket, so the satellite is put in a vacuum chamber at 60°C, or 140°F, for one day, so all of the trapped gases in every component of the satellite escape and subjected to a variety of tests on a shaker table. As you can see in the second photo, liquid nitrogen was involved, which always makes things more exciting…
In brief, CubeCat-1 passed all of its tests, so it is ready for delivery in a few short weeks.
Side Trip to Geneva
One of my favorite parts about being in Europe is that everything is so close. A flight from L.A. to New York is about six hours, while most flights within continental Europe are half as long. A friend of mine, Sarah Marie, is currently doing research at CERN, in Geneva. As it was only about 75 minutes away by air, I thought it would be a fun trip, and I was right. It was great to be able to see Sarah Marie and CERN, and the icing on the cake was that it was also Swiss National Day on Saturday, August 1, so there were extra celebrations in Geneva.
Two days in Geneva was far too short, and it was excellent to spend time with Sarah Marie.
Breathtaking View from atop Tibidabo
As last week was Anjit’s last week, we decided to have some fun on Tuesday evening by visiting Tibidabo, a mountain overlooking the city, where there is a famous church, Sagrat Cor, and an amusement park with amazing views over the city.
Not only does their roller coaster, called simply called Muntanya Russa (by the way, for those of you who are curious why the literal translation of roller coaster from Spanish and Catalan, probably other languages too, is “Russian mountain,” check out this article).
The nighttime view over the city from Tibidabo is no less breathtaking, either…
Tibidabo was definitely amazing at night, and it made me love Barcelona even more.
Final Week…onto CubeCat-2
Now that my work on CubeCat-1 is finished, I have begun to perform a shock simulation on CubeCat-2. As I described a few weeks ago, one of the requirements for launch is that satellites pass a shock simulation, to test if they can survive the pyrotechnics and other devices that may be involved with the satellites’ final deployment. As CubeCat-2 will be subject to the same requirements for its launch and its mechanical design is finished, it can be analyzed as well for when it is delivered early next year.
As always, I’ll share more later as I continue my final week in Barcelona.