Introducing Enda and a Soldering Course

Introducing Enda and a Soldering Course

Hi everyone, my name is Enda McKenna and I am a second year PhD student involved in ionospheric radio transmissions in the L-band (~400 MHz) and although this REXUS project does not relate directly to my studies I am very excited about being part of the team and am learning lots during the process. I joined the REXUS PIOneERS team shortly after the selection workshop in which the project was successful in application to be included on the REXUS 23/24 campaign. An opportunity to launch an experiment into space is not to be passed up! My role with the project started as being in charge with the Experiment Control and Data Acquisition Unit (ECDAU) which is basically the brains of the experiment as it is composed of the on-board computer (OBC), power units and the software required to run the mission successfully. At some point we decided to give our sub-systems silly names and it was decided that this would be called...
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Introducing James

Hello! I am James Churm, electronic support engineer to the PIOneERS program. It’s my job to design and fabricate the REXUS module interface unit; this circuit converts power and signals between the rockets support systems and the PIOneERS experiment. This involves the design, fabrication and testing of PCBs which will provide data and power to all other systems in the experiment… no pressure then! For the power conversion we are using a pair of regulators; one supplying 12V to the boom motor subsystems and a 5V regulator supplying power to everything else. With regards to data, our main task is to make sure that we don’t take any REXUS systems down if our experiment fails! This involves us building transceivers, combinations of transmitters and receivers, and isolation units into the design. This week was our critical design review. We presented our finalised designs to representatives of the European Space Agency, German Aerospace Centre and Swedish Space Corporation. It was a beautiful two days...
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Introducing Lucy

Hi everyone! This week we're looking at what Lucy, our third year mechanical engineering student, does in PIOneERS: My role within the Pioneers experiment consists of designing, developing and manufacturing the fast deploying telescopic boom. It was around 9 months ago that I began working on this project with Jonathan, Matt and Mashiat, however it was only after PIOneERS got selected that the hard work really started. The design of the boom began as basic sketches on whiteboard generated from background research and a brainstorming session with the other mechanical members of the team. From there it has continually been developed and improved. It is now at a stage where the design is almost complete and should be finalised once we return from the CDR (Critical Design Review) in just under a week. Once everyone involved is happy with the design I will then begin to manufacture and test the boom.  The tubular sections are going to be manufactured from a carbon fibre...
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Introducing Jonathan

Hello everyone. Welcome back to our PIOneERS blog, I hope you are enjoying reading more about our experiment. Well, I guess you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. In the upcoming weeks we'll be introducing you to the team members of PIOneERS and what they're doing for the experiment. We're starting this week with out team leader Jonathan: So, as you probably remember from the previous posts, I am Jonathan Camilleri, and my role within the PIOneERS experiment is that of project manager and science lead. I have to admit I never imagined myself enjoying management work. Ever. However, in the last few months I have learned a lot, and really enjoyed myself within the PIOneERS team. My job as project manager mainly involves making sure that all the tasks required to be done to ensure a successful experiment are delegated to the right people, at the right times to stop any delays. I also take care of the budgeting for...
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Spring Update

Spring Update

Hello to all our fans! Since returning from the PDR in Munich last month, the PIOneERS team have been busy improving the experiment according to all the feedback we received from the experts. Earlier this week we handed in our latest updated version of the Student Experiment Documentation. One of the biggest concerns was radio frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by the electronics, which could interfere with the on-board GPS or the other REXUS experiments. Therefore we had to ensure the entire experiment is RF shielded. This proved to be quite a challenge as it affected most of the sub-systems, however we solved this issue by simply encasing all electronic components, at each end of the boom inside aluminium housings. It has also been recommended to utilise some space underneath the bulkhead in order to store some electronics, opening up more space in the nosecone for the stowed BOOM. Moreover, thermal and Finite Element Analysis will need to be performed for the design. To...
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From Birmingham to Bavaria

From Birmingham to Bavaria

I could start with a space pun, but I would need a little more time to planet. So in the mean time, I’ll fill you in on the last week of activities, but where do I even start!? It probably makes most sense to start on a cold wet Sunday morning in Birmingham airport. Having met at 6 a.m. the team were a little sleepy eyed but raring to go. Five hours, four coffees and two train rides later we arrived at our hotel in Oberpfaffenhofen. With nerves of our upcoming preliminary design review, or PDR in short, now settled, mostly due to sleep deprivation, we had a lovely first dinner together and headed to bed early for a much needed kip. Instead of giving you a play by play of the entire week I decided to just highlight our favourite parts. Monday night saw a trip to what we naively thought was a monastery, but upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised...
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The PIOneERS Experiment

The PIOneERS Experiment

The PIOneERS experiment is a technological demonstration designed to validate the performance of two space sub-systems, an ionospheric electron density impedance probe, ImP; and a fast-deploying, telescopic boom; Neil. This experiment will be hosted on board a sounding rocket provided as part of the German-Swedish student programme REXUS/BEXUS.  The data provided by ImP in the bottom-side ionosphere will be compared to already available data to determine its performance. Once the ImP data will be validated, it will be used to provide in-situ electron density measurements from the top-side ionosphere, from on board other spacecraft hosting it. ImP will be mounted at the end of a boom sub-system, Neil. This is a boom of 1.75 m in length, thus keeping ImP away from the artificial magnetic field generated by the REXUS rocket body. At this distance, the worst case percentage error in the measurements ranges from 7% at an altitude of 85 km to 16% at an altitude of 75 km. The ImP instrument itself...
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