Friday, December 16, 2016

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Our 44 page HASP application has been submitted! We met our personal goal to submit it by close of business instead of the actual midnight deadline. It has been a taxing few days as we put the finishing touches on the document but I think it looks incredible and I can't believe that we pulled it off.

We went from no one having Solidworks at home to all of the engineering team installing a begged, borrowed, or um...gifted version of the software.

I've logged about 20 hours of Google Hangout time with Jimmy and special guest stars Ryan and the Dans. I'm so used to being on a call with Jimmy that I'm forgetting and saying things out loud to him!

 He can't hear me.

Now we wait. 

You Are The True Scientists

Presented without [much] comment: UK team flies meat pie to space
Scrapping our current lame idea for this delicious one.

Solidworks Google Hangout

Accepting donations of RAM.

And prayers.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Quick Update

HASP application: 23 pages and counting. Have at least 7 pages of mechanical drawings waiting in the wings as soon as my poor not-RAM-having computer and I finish translating these pages into CAD models.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

On a scale of 1-10

How badly do you want us to get accepted to HASP?

Because if your answer isn't, "15" I don't even know what to do with you right now.

FAQ: No, he doesn't ever wear shoes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Why are we working so hard on this HASP application when we have finals?
Why are we doing this when we could be sleeping?

When I get tired of reading about butterfly valves and solenoids and 3-D printed servo arms I like to stare at these for a little while.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sixteen Days

We have 16 days until our HASP application is due and the team has been squeezing in meetings between finals, deadlines, and for one team member, a job at FedEx. We had a three hour Google Hangout in the middle of the night on Tuesday, a three hour engineering team meeting, scattered sub-group meetings and have an All-Hands meeting next week to put the final touches on the draft.

The Google Hangout produced a three page long task list for engineering team to solve before Saturday morning. One of the things that they tackled today was to ensure that everything fits inside a small Payload and weighs less than 2.5 kg.

Ryan made a model of the payload and we grabbed all of the items we hope to fly and tried to see if they would fit in what is basically the size of a shoebox.

The next task was to discuss if we can ensure that the tUR spine can fly in its current form
or provide a design for a streamlined spine/Arduino (i.e. eliminate the breadboard) as it can fly.
The Arduino needs to be able to:

  • control unknown electrical elements (servos, valves, etc.)
  • receive/send data 
  • and within bitrate parameters
  • measure temperature* (internal), temperature*/humidity*/pressure* (external), pressure* (internal), acceleration (internal), time*, as well as the SO2 sensors

STRETCH GOAL: The Arduino could also control a small ‘keychain’ camera.

The sulfur dioxide sensor for the Arduino proved to be a bit of a challenge. Mainly because we knew what we wanted but it was difficult to find enough information on the websites to tell if what we were looking at was a good fit. Dank and The Fixer did a lot of research and made a few phone calls to pick out a winner. One thing that we've learned from this project already is how to make friends with Customer Service.

I had to leave the meeting to go teach a class but things were well underway when I left. It sounds like they are meeting again this weekend and that research team is going to have a meeting. If we aren't accepted to HASP it won't be because of a lack of effort.

Here's a room with four students who have basically just met and one more stumbled in for introductions before I left. It's amazing to watch how quickly they can bond over this work and what a safe space this is for sharing ideas.