Ready for First Contact!

October 22nd, 2018

September 27th and 28th: Kevin Jackson and Steven Erickson of Flexitech Aerospace came to Boston to perform the installation of a custom ground station. The ground station will communicate with CuPID once in orbit. The ground station consists of two major components, the main computer terminal and the radio antenna. There were quite a few components so it took the combined effort of the whole team to properly set it up!

It was a beautiful day to work on the roof of the Photonics Center. Pictured is Rousseau Nutter, Steven Erickson and Thompson Cragwell.

The radio antenna tracks a satellites orbit path using occasional location information given by the satellite that is then used to predict the future location and time of ground station contact passes. The antenna then sends information from the satellite down to the ground station located just below the antenna.  The actual motion of the antenna is driven by a motor located inside of a large black header, which turned out to be quite heavy!

The completed antenna structure on the roof and the compute command hub located one floor below the antenna.

After two days of some serious heavy lifting, epoxying, cable routing and teamwork were wound up with a well-functioning ground station. Below is a time-lapse video of the antenna tracking the ISS overhead!

*This post was written by Thompson Cragwell, posted by Emil Atz.