New Ground Station Taking Shape

In order to better communicate with our spacecraft we are building our third ground station on the Cal Poly campus. This new ground station will feature quad phased yagi antennas with ability to transmit up to 1.5KW. The new system will be using the Cal Poly developed systemboard as our radio. It will also feature automatic pass operations.  We recently began construction of the new groundstation on the roof of building 192 with hopes of finishing by the end of the summer.

Electrical engineering students Jeff Weaver, Jimmy Tang, Kristina Forystek, and Joe Fitzpatrick helping to erect the new ground station base.

Electrical engineering students Jeff Weaver, Jimmy Tang, Kristina Forystek, and Joe Fitzpatrick helping to erect the new ground station base.

ExoCube Pushing Forward!

A particularly exciting and educational aspect of PolySat’s comprehensive production process is the design and in-house manufacturing of various structural components.  ExoCube, PolySat’s most recent project, implements a modification of the flight-proven and student-designed HyperCube structure that was recently flown as a 1U form-factor for the IPEX mission.  To increase educational benefits and expand the technical capabilities of the PolySat lab, many of the components used within the ExoCube mechanical structure have been manufactured by PolySat students using Cal Polys on-campus machine shops.  For the past several months, the ExoCube mechanical team has been working to finalize design and manufacturing, and we are excited to have finalized hardware that has been machined in recent weeks!

Zack Yun and Vanessa Faune setup the CNC mill to machine components of the ExoCube structure.

"Semesters? What a good joke!"

Vanessa Faune prepares to manufacture an ExoCube panel.

"Semesters? What a good joke!"

Partially integrated ExoCube test unit implementing components machined on-campus.

IPEX’s Continued Success

The PolySat team has been working diligently at continued improvements to the groundstation. Since the last post, we have downlinked several more images, and below are some of the best images yet!

A shot of the Hawaiian islands:

Beautiful clouds over the Pacific:

A frigid looking shot near the Pacific Rim:

All TLE images obtained using STK10

We will continue to post images as we receive them!

IPEX’s First Full Resolution Image!

For the past several weeks following P-POD deployment, IPEX has been downlinking images to Cal Poly’s upgraded groundstation to verify that the imaging and communications systems are working as expected.  We have recently received approval to release one of the first IPEX images captured post-deployment, and are excited to share with the community!  This image was taken on December 6, 2013 at 11:05 UTC using the -Z camera while IPEX was traversing over the Australian coast, pointed southwest towards the terminator line.

The successful capture, storage, and downlink of the recent IPEX images represents an important milestone for PolySat’s technical and operational capabilities.  IPEX is the first CubeSat to use PolySat’s new avionics suite, comprised of a variety of custom PCBs and a Tyvak Intrepid systemboard/comm board package.  The timely and efficient downlink of one of IPEX’s high-resolution deployment images such as this one adequately verifies not only PolySat’s new avionics bus, but the recent upgrades to the Cal Poly ground station as well.  We are excited to continue IPEX operations!

IPEX_12_6_2013_2

IPEX_12_6_2013_location

Obtained using STK10

IPEX Status

PPOD Initial Tracking Orbit

12/10/2013 – 11:55PM

The payload processor and software have been activated.

12/7/2013 – 10:00AM

Japan has gotten a very clear recording of IPEX.

Check it out here: http://www.dk3wn.info/p/?p=39287

Two types of beacons can be heard in the recording, a health beacon and the morse code beacon.

12/7/2013 – 12:00AM

Image thumbnails have been downlinked from each of the five cameras along with a telemetry packet.

12/6/2013 – 8:30AM

IPEX has received over 50 packets since the launch the night before. Decoded packets indicate the satellite is so far nominal. Initial checkout is still underway and updates will be posted.

Packets are being decoded from about 1.5 degrees above the horizon

The CSU Chancellor Paid Us a Visit!

As part of a tour of the CSU system, CSU Chancellor White came by the lab to see what we’re up to! Here are some pictures from his visit:

Dr. Puig-Suari showing off the groundstation.

"Semesters? What a good joke!"

Derek Nelson, Nick Weiser, and Melody Golobic having a few laughs with the Chancellor.

Photo Credit: Brittany App