RAM is working again, resurrected and reassembled. We burned out one of our critical servos due to some bad commanding, but swapped components to get us limping along again (though with a dead gripper, as shown in the video below.) By this evening we'll have a fresh one swapped in and will be back to full functionality.
|Here's a click-through link in case the embedding doesn't work.|
One of the big hopes we had for flight was to run completely autonomously, letting cameras and computers and reference tags (the blocky black-and-white bits in the picture below) do all the driving. For some of the reasons mentioned above as well as some other schedule slips -- most of them mine -- we haven't been able to develop that control feedback system to the level we'd want for flight.
However, we're still on track for an exciting flight! We're shifting to doing most of our driving by 'dead reckoning', i.e. with absolutely-referenced instructions sent from on board. Rather than reacting in real-time, the arm will be moving -- blind, but moving -- to manipulate all the components on our 'Busy Box' using explicit commands we plan out for it. We'll see if we can get some lighter test elements working and tested well enough for flight, but right now we need to keep focused on the minimum deliverable of a working arm.
Thanks again to Peter Sooy for inviting us up to Goddard way back in December of last year; the information we learned during that visit helped inform the shape of the project that we're mere weeks away from launching into near-space. Thanks also to Zakiya Tomlinson for fielding all of our questions and showing us the ropes. And, finally, thanks to the patient HASP ground crews from LSU and CSBF for hosting us last week: Dr. T. G. Guzik, Doug Granger, Josh Collins, and Anthony Ficklin were all more than accommodating and gave us everything we needed to succeed. And, last but far from least, thanks to NC Space Grant for their continuous support and funding; we couldn't do this without y'all!