After assembling most of the components it was time to sho them to the advisors from DLR. Since we are in time and the parts are well engineered, we had no reason to worry about this review beforehand. Everything went well and we got a pass for the next step of our journey. In the following post you can see some impressions from the IPR at our university.
Even today many companies like to use plain commandline interfaces for their groundstation. We tried it for QUEST and the picture above shows how it could look like.
As this experiment is to design a framework the software is an essential part. The software is divided into three main parts.
The first is the sensor part. Each sensor has its own processing unit. To reduce programming effort for future missions which use the same design and to ensure a functional and consistent communication between the sensor processing units and the main processor, we are designing a framework to handle data collection from and commando delivery to the sensor units.
The second part is the main-processor. This part is only once in the system, but an interface must be designed for an easy use of algorithms.
The third part is the OBDH (OnBoard Data Handling). This is not part of the framework, but essential for the experiment as it’s responsible for ground communication and data storage.
Since the system is flying a longer time and nobody knows what is happening exactly with the system, a HKS seemed very useful. Collecting data from our system and sending them to the ground and store them on the used microSD cards can be used for real time analyses and post flight analysis. Because a lot of different electronic components are used, a standardized HKS seemed to be a good choice. The HKS exist out of a small processing unit called µduino. The µduino measures periodically the voltage and current on the input of each board and the Power Distribution Unit. (Title image by https://www.crowdsupply.com/uduino/uduino. You should support their campaign, they are awesome!)
The experiment is composed of two main boxes. Inside the gondola there are all electronic components: An Onboard Computer, an Onboard Data Handling Unit, a Power Distribution Unit and for each camera a preprocessing board. On the outside there is the sensor box including a near infrared camera, a visual light camera and a mini spectrometer and their redundant counterparts. Those will be mounted separately, but in the same configuration. This shifted box is necessary to provide an unrestricted field of view downwards.