P17104: HABIP-COMMS
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Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Table of Contents

Team Vision for System Level Demo with Customer

We focused on getting everything together to launch the platform:

Goals for this phase:

Accomplishments:

Test Results Summary

We finished up the software for the COMMS Pi Zero and tested the systems. We were able to get data from our redundant GPS module over I2C:
GPS Testing

GPS Testing

We were able to send telemetry from our platform to the ground and commands from the ground to the platform. The platform was able to decode and execute commands. The 70cm chain worked. We tested sending commands to change data on the data overlay and to change which camera was shown. Everything was working in the lab.

On April 29, 2017, we had an actual launch of the platform:

The Team

The Team

As things were assembled in the parking lot, we tested the system. We sent a few commands to the platform and it acknowledged them. We got APRS packets once the antenna was extended at the top for the dipole. Two of the Pi Hat boards weren't working and code for getting the DAQCS host board sensor data was never finished; we were able to get data from the two working Pi Hats and from the COMMS board in telemetry packets from the platform.

Unfortunately, we had issues with the video stream during the launch. We were not able to get video in the lab; we did hear audio from the microphone. We launched, hoping the video would starting working. The audio worked for a little while and then stopped. We never received video in the lab. A Ham in Irondequoit was able to receive some video and audio from our platform for a while. There was definitely a lab issue since we didn't, but there could have been other issues as well. We also aren't sure that the video mux was working properly anymore since it wasn't the night before (we assumed it was because the battery was low) and it doesn't appear (it's hard to tell from the quality) that the camera source was actually switching like it the overlay said since we can see the antenna in all the shots from video the other Ham recorded. We will have to look into why the video mux isn't working anymore, since it did in the lab in earlier testing.

During the launch, the GPS for the telemetry stream cut off above 40,000 feet. We just got the same GPS data from it over and over again at high altitudes. GPS cannot be used above 60,000 feet at very high speeds (which we weren't at), but some manufacturers just disable operation above a certain altitude to make things simpler for them. We later found that we needed to change the mode (via software) for our GPS module to allow them to operate at high altitudes. The APRS cut off above 60,000 feet and new GPS data was never received (it lost GPS lock). Upon recovery, we found that the APRS fell in the platform some (the GPS chip antenna was no longer sticking out of the platform); we should have secured it better.

Unfortunately, commands stopped working during the launch as well. After recovery, we found an error about "bad axheader" in the axlisten log that we never got in any testing. For some reason, axlisten stayed running (the software would restart it if it crashed), but stopped working properly (didn't receive anything afterward). We will have to improve the robustness and reliability of our COMMS software.

Since the APRS cut out early, we relied on GPS data in the telemetry transmissions to track the platform. We lost this information at about 9,000 feet. We only had a general idea of where the platform landed (near Syracuse, headed toward Onondaga Lake). We got in contact with HAM operators in the Syracuse area to get them to listen in to our transceiver frequency for packets. Luckily, someone was able to receive and decode our telemetry stream to get the GPS coordinates of the landed platform. The platform was recovered!

Overall, we had quite a few issues during launch. However, we have sensor data from our board for the whole flight (minus GPS data that was inaccurate for a little while), we were able to mostly track the platform, we were able to receive telemetry from the platform, someone received video and audio from the platform, and we recovered the platform.

Here is the recovered platform:

Recovered Platform

Recovered Platform

There was minimal damage to the platform. The antenna snapped on landing, but luckily the conductor was still connected, which allowed telemetry transmissions to continue and for us to ultimately locate it. The radials were damaged. Inside, the motor controller fell and damaged one of the Pi Hat boards. On landing, the batteries also came loose at the bottom of the platform, but they did not damage anything.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Management

Risk Management

Risk Management

The risk management document can be found here.

Problem Tracking

Here is our updated problem tracking table:
Problem Tracking Table

Problem Tracking Table

Here is a pie chart with our updated progress on these problems:

Problem Tracking Wheel

Problem Tracking Wheel

The updated working document can be found here.

Plans for next phase

Team Plans

 Gantt Chart for Next Phase

Gantt Chart for Next Phase

Our Gantt chart working document can be found here: MSD II Gantt Chart

Individual Plans


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