PSAS/ news/ 2005-08-13 - System Test at Gabriel Park

Test Summary

Part I: Failed Integrated Hardware/Software Simulation (8:00am - 1:00pm)

Jamey, Sarah and Andrew met early in the morning (8:00am) and tried to get to do an integrated hardware/software flight simulation. By using the Launch Tower Computer (LTC) as a high speed network to CAN bus converter, we thought we could replace our sensors with "virtual sensors" from Dave's discrete event simulator running on Jamey's laptop. We chose to use the real APS, Recovery and ATV nodes, and simulated GPS, pressure and IMU.

Amazingly, Jamey got all the connections just right: messages from the simulated nodes on Jamey's laptop made it onto the CAN bus and CAN messages from real hardware got injected into the simulator and rocketview. It was cool.

Well, it was cool until we realized that the LTC's Intel 82527 couldn't read "RTR" messages because it's a completely screwed up chip, and that basically killed the test right there. Sigh.

Part II: Succesfull System Test in Gabriel Park (2:00pm - 9:00pm)

Eric and Frank showed up, and we packed everything into Andrew and Frank's vans. The failed simulation put us behind a bit, so we didn't get to Gabriel Park until 2:00pm (sorry Josh!).

We first set up launch control (LC) at the top of the hill (about 300 ft south on SW 37th from the corner of SW Vermont and SW 37th), and shockingly, started following the checklist to set the rocket up. It was... a new experience ;) And as such, we found a lot that we wanted to change. Eric dutifully updated a local copy of the CurrentCheckList page, which helped us really nail down exactly what we needed to do. We even worked out a few more pieces of the checklist we didn't realize was missing, like what happens if we need to restart the launch while on the pad.

We turned on the Flight Computer (FC), prepped it for flight, and after a bit of hassling, got it ready for it's "flight". Frank, a newly re-arrived Nathan, Bart and Andrew drove down and set up the Launch Tower Computer (LTC) this time on it's tripod. We then set up the rocket, and then Jamey, Kieith, Josh and Eric went at it.

I believe we tried launching something like a dozen times over the course of the afternoon; it was a pretty intense work day. Here are some highlights:

Finally, as it was starting to get really dark around 8:30pm, we quit for the day.

Thanks to everyone who helped out at the test today, especially to:


We met first at Andrew's workshop in SE Portland to pick up the tents, rocket, etc, and then headed out to Gabriel Park in SW Portland. We were in the very northeast corner of the park, just south of the corner of SW 37th Ave and SW Vermont St (google map).


Full PSAS system test. By the checklist. Goals: