PSAS/ news/ 2001-09-15

Workshop Notes for September 15, 2001

In attendance: Nathan, Jamey, Larry, James, Andrew & Glenn

The joy of squeezing into a small basement room

The six of us met this Saturday morning/afternoon in Andrew's downstairs workshop. We were pretty squished, but it seemed to work out.

Black Rock in the News

The FAA waiver for Black Rock hasn't been received yet - that may cancel the whole thing. More news by the Wednesday meeting.

Flight Computer alive!

James has already gotten the FC talking via the Orinoco card but after an upgrade to his laptop, it all stopped working. After struggling with upgrading his kernel to 2.4.5 (how many millions of kernels has James built in the last week?) it finally worked. The 802.3 Davicom ethernet onboard the MOPS520 still needs to be disabled so that the 802.11b PC Card comes up as the default device. James and Andrew also started looking into the Intel 82527 chip since that's next on the agenda.

FC Software

Larry worked on finishing up the state machine code. It looks like that's mostly fleshed out, and it now compiles and might actually do what we want it to do.

Jamey got the CAN muxer up and running and threw some fake packets at it in a simulation over the last few days. Jamey and Nathan tried to work on finishing up the CAN muxer code, but spent most of the day mucking around with Andrew's Mandrake install on the Pentium 75 box. They gave up and drove back to get Jamey's laptop.

Inertial Navigation Software

Andrew P. is pretty close to getting some inertial nav code to us. We agreed on the <N, E, U> coordinate system - which is the right hand rule with a -Z ("thumb") axis - since that was pretty close to the code he had. He's also shipping off his IMU to us so that we can install that with a MISC CAN node board... imagine that! Two homebrew IMUs on the same rocket!


Andrew got two MCP2510 CAN development boards - our version of the poor man's CAN protocol analyzer - up and talking to themselves at 1Mbps. That's the first CAN bus system that the PSAS has ever got up and working, which is fun. Andrew and James started looking into the 82527 in order to start working on that end of things, including getting the open source driver up and running.


In a much needed breakthrough, Spencer Webb of AntennaSys, Inc. directed us to the "Antenna Engineering Handbook" which has a section on designing a cylindrical patch antenna for a rocket. Score! We've thus dropped slot antenna development and have decided to go directly to the cylindrical patch. Spencer has also generously volunteered a little of his time to help us through the design process, which is fantastic news for us. Glenn has a photocopy of the article and is beginning the design. If the 2.4GHz antenna goes well, we should also be able to build one for the GPS and the ATV as well.


Glenn, Andrew and Larry played with two cameras from SuperCircuits. We choose the more expensive camera as the better one, of course (the PC-33C). It will need extensive weight reducing modifications if we want to use it, however. Glenn will try and build up as much of the ATV equipment as possible this weekend so that we may be able to do an ATV test next week.

Upcoming and to do:

-- AndrewGreenberg - 15 Sep 2001