ERC – First Day of Competition

Today, the USST finished our first day of competition at ERC! As we suspected, we ended up staying up until around 4:30 am last night working on the rover, only to wake up at 5:30 am and head to the competition grounds, rover in tow. Some major issues with our GPS system, the LIDAR, and the writing of a presentation for a task were to blame.

Austin testing the GPS at 3:00 am...

Austin testing the GPS at 3:00 am…

Nonetheless, we ended up finding our way to the competition grounds this morning, and after a bit of confusion, set up the rover for our first task – the terrain traversal. Though we were using a rather jury-rigged GPS system which involved manually copying and pasting coordinates, and nearly drove onto the adjacent highway, we managed to do relatively well. We successfully made it to two of the three gates!

Soon after came the astronaut assistance task. We managed to find the tool required, and lift it in the air for the required ten seconds. However, as we had some problems with the linear actuators on the arm, we were unable to carry it to the target destination. Even so, according to the judges, we performed quite well.

After some sandwiches and a lot more work on the rover, we went to the maintenance task. All of the work put into the arm paid off, as we managed to score 60 of 70 possible points, and were the highest scoring team on the particular task by a margin of 20 points.

Attempting to plug in our homemade voltmeter

Attempting to plug in our homemade voltmeter

Successfully flipping the final switch, and enjoying the siren which it triggered!

Successfully flipping the final switch, and enjoying the siren that it triggered!

After the maintenance task, we had some time to put the finishing touches on our presentation, and presented it for a few of the judges. It received favourable reviews, and we are very excited for the science task tomorrow.

It was quite a bit to pack into one day, but well worth it. It’s quite an experience to see so many teams from around the world, and the vastly different designs they’ve come up with. We can’t wait to finish our last task and find out where we rank in the standings!

High Altitude Balloon – Processed Images

Below are the images we processed off of our High Altitude balloon. The first is a NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), the second is a raw Infra Red Image, and the third and fourth are visual image.

untitledhab descent august 2014 launch3








High Altitude Balloon – Splash Down

Today we embarked on our first High Altitude Balloon Launch of the year. We fixed the issues with our cameras from the launch last September, and ran a completely redesigned payload. The launch demonstrated our communications systems that was run for the first time.

It was also one of the most eventful launches as the payload landed in water. Members worked to retrieve the payload from the water. All the data was still retrieved. When all is said and done, it was a very successful launch.

In case you are interested, footage from the camera on board has been compiled. You will notice how cloudy it was that day, and how much smoke still lingered in the air from the forest fires up north.