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Houston, we have landed!!

As we await our shuttle to the hotel, we're excited to meet our colleagues this afternoon!

Here we go!


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Day 5 - Pulling it All Together

Today started with the pack up!  We gathered our luggage and collected it together at the hotel to prepare for our mid afternoon departure.  But first - a great day of learning and wrapping up was to be had.

We departed from the hotel and headed to visit NanoRacks.  This is a private contractor that facilitates the use of "Cube Satellites" on the ISS.  These are 4" x 4" x 4" satellites that can be loaded with electronics, sensors, cameras, and/or whatever developers dream up.  NanoRacks provides some of the structure and framework for research to take place both on the ISS directly as well as to launch CubeSats from ISS into Low Earth Orbit.  We got to see some Cubes and hear about the process of preparing them and launching them into orbit.
This was the most direct connection to our engineering project - as we created a satellite ejector system to run on the PABF (Precision Air Bearing Floor).  It was a great way to see the value of the teamwork of our group.

Day 4 - Successful Launch

We started our day by listening to a presentation about Space-X and Boeing's progress on getting astronauts to the International Space Station. The presenter explained what the future may bring and the possibility of launching American astronauts from American soil rather than from other places like Russia.
We also took a field trip to the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBC). There we were given a tour of the 202 ft by 102 ft 6.2 million gallon pool where astronauts can practice space-walks. They also use the pool to simulate water landings with the Orion spacecraft.

When we got back to building 9, we started our one-hour testing session. We had problems with the laptop being hooked up to the Arduino. Eventually, we had to leave the laptop connected to the Arduino while the SLED was launched. However, once we fixed that, we slowly worked our way closer and closer to the goal. We did that by editing the code to keep the SLED shooting consistently. We ended up getting 3 goals by the en…

Day 2 - Space Vehicle Mock Up and Test Runs

Today we went to the Space Vehicle mock up facility. While there we had to present our SLED to make sure it passed all safety regulations and we passed!

We met our NASA Mentor in person today and had a chance to talk with him a bunch.  He had some useful suggestions about our SLED and shared interesting stories of his work with ISS Robotics.

We did a few test runs, but we fully test our SLED on Thursday. As it goes for the other teams we got to see how their SLEDs work.

While testing we learned that we had to change our delay time, and that our string was being cut by sharp edges on the motor.

Notice on this run the battery in our launched puck was about empty.  It stops sliding freely as it approaches the target.

We were able to meet Astronaut Serena M. Aunon Chancellor for about 5 minutes!  We learned that she is going up to the ISS on June 6th.  This will be her first trip to space.  She is a practicing medical doctor and has an engineering background!

This is a panorama of part of…