After the loss of LV2 and the departure (temporarily, we all hope!) of Brian, we did some soul searching to figure out what we wanted to do next. We were looking at a range of options:
- Rebuild LV2 exactly as it was, with only very minor modifications (like, for example, a new recovery system!)
- Rebuild LV2 pretty close to how we had it, but with major upgrades.
- Design and build LV3.
Very few people were interested in the first option 1, although it technically might be the quickest path to another launch. Without Brian, a propulsion team, and a lot of strong student resources, we really can't do a design and build of LV3. So we chose option 2, although what "major upgrades" are must be defined along the way.
We're starting out this process by making some simple goals to be done by January, at which point we might really have an idea of exactly what we'll be doing for 2006.
Most of how we proceed depends on if we build a new airframe, and what kind it is. Maggie, Tim and Peter have said that they're willing to rebuild LV2's airframe with some minor modifications. Since they might have more access to CNC tooling in the future, this might be easier than the first time around. In particular, we discussed:
- CNCing the airframe modules for repeatability and try to get away from welding
- Develop easier production process for the fiberglass parts (nosecone, aeroshell)
- Better fin design to make them easier to build (possibly even removable)
- Better documentation on the airframe
- And of course, some new recovery system device
Maggie and Tim felt that a new airframe was realistically about 1 to 1.5 years away. That would mean that we wouldn't be able to launch until Spring of 2007.
- Presentation to the ME department to see if we can get some more student interest
- Make a design and schedule document
With the decision to rebuild LV2's airframe, we knew that we could now rebuild much of the avionics in the same way: the cylindrical patch antennas, the radio systems, etc., all didn't need to change. And with the newfrom the IBM grant, we at least had a starting point. Probably the most disagreement for the evening was exactly how we rebuild the avionics. We had two realistic options:
- Rebuild the LV2 avionics system exactly as it was (PICs, hand-wired boards and mechanical assembly and all)
- Keep the same block diagram, but redo each block (e.g., replacing PICs with ARMs)
Most folks are leaning towards the later (redo each block), but there's a lot of careful planning to do before we leap into designing and building. In terms of how soon until we have a completed system, that's just not foreseeable right now. After we have an idea of exactly what we're planning, we'll be able to look at schedules.
- Help the software team get the new PPC FC up and running - get a PCI-104 to PCMCIA/PC Card adapter, flash memory, etc.
- Get GPL-GPS up and running with the new FC (probably just over the UART, no need for CAN).
- Determine if Glenn and Sarah can do their senior capstone project on the design of new ARM7TDMI-based CAN nodes.
- Have a true design and schedule document for the new avionics system
As Jamey so, uh, "nicely" pointed out, the software team didn't lose anything in the last crash :-? . But there's still a lot to do, especially with the migration to aflight computer. There was a general consensus to:
- Keep working on the simulator
- Move new CAN node code into the simulator so we can test the code directly
- Move to a 2.6 kernel
- Start working on drivers for the MPC5200's various peripherals
- Get the PPC flight computer up and running by mid-December.
- Set up communication with GPL-GPS, maybe including 10 Hz position calculations from 10 Hz pseudorange data.
Jamey set up PSAS as a PSU student group. This gets us some funding, but more importantly it sets us up to have more of a presence on campus to recruit new students. We'd love to get some new students onboard, and hopefully attract people who will be self-motivated enough to really end up contributing.
We also decided to get back to monthly team meetings as we work on the new LV2: our official schedule is now the 1st Wednesday of each month in FAB155 at 7:00pm.