A Life in the Cloud
My name is Leonardo and I’m one of the new team members, I’ll first give a short background of myself and then I’ll tell what I’ve been working on in the previous months.
I’m from Italy but I moved to Sweden four years ago. I’m currently in my second year of the BSc programme in Information and Communication Technology.
The software side consists mostly of three parts: FPGA with VHDL, microcontroller with C and the Ground Station which is the interface between the team and the whole experiment inside the rocket (written in matlab).
As a new team member it’s quite hard to join a project that is already started because the learning curve at the beginning is quite steep, there’s many topics to learn quickly and you also have to adapt to a new way of working. The key is to remain focused and keep on going!
My best advice for new members is to closely follow the other members and look at what they are doing and most importantly be curious. During the past few months I’ve been working on the second magnetometer sensor, how to communicate with it and how to store the data that it’s collecting. Here to the right is the beautiful magnetometer!
Above, you can see how the communication to the two sensors is achieved. The raw data is processed in the Boom PCB and after that packets are created, following our packet definition standard.
Each packet consists of a preamble, which tells us where the data is coming from. A Payload, where the actual data is stored and in the end a postamble.
Above is how a magnetometer packet is composed.
Now the question is, what do we do with all these packets?
We save them of course! Once the packet has been created it is sent over to the sd card so that we can then retrieve all the data once the experiment has landed. Another very important part is the communication to the experiment, done through the Ground Station. We want to be able to communicate with the experiment both to retrieve status updates and to make sure that everything is nominal before launch.
Above you can see the Ground Station UI where we can request telemetry from all the parts of our experiment and set different values. The whole communication is achieved through the RMU (Rocket Mounted Unit) using UART through the different umbilicals.
How do we retrieve the right data? Great question! That’s done by using specific bytes for IDs and different commands to talk either to the FPGA or the microcontroller.
Here to the left is a more specific layout of the whole FFU.
There’s a lot more to cover but I hope that now you get a general idea of how the various signals move around.
On a final note I would like to add a personal view on the project. There’s endless learning opportunities, for example I was taught how to design and mill a PCB and after that how to solder both simple things such as cables but also more complicated ones such as components on PCBs. It’s really up to you to be willing to put the time and the effort, the gratification will be immense!
That’s all from me for now! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and on Instagram for more exciting and interesting updates! http://b2d2.se/
Take care and keep on dreaming, Leo.