General structure of our project
According to NASA a space project is divided into seven phases beginning with concept studies and ending with the decommissioning. In order to enter the next phase, milestones are defined which typically come along with a document explaining how this milestone is achieved. It is then reviewed by experts to receive feedback e.g. where are potential points of failures or how to improve the design. This gives the whole project a structure, makes planning easier and success measurable.
In 2019, at the end of the summer semester we had our first big milestone: the System Concept review (SCR). All subsytsems formulated multiple approaches for their system and evaluated them according to different criteria.
The resulting System Concept document containing our approaches were then presented to experts and we received feedback for our drafted concepts.
Subsequently, we incorporated the proposed improvements by eliminating the weak points found by the reviewers.
Current status of the project
During the last two semesters first components and functions were developed and tested in order to verify the drafted concepts. Right now we work towards a new milestone: the System Definitioin Review (SDR).
In the SDR every subsystem should define the setup of their system and describe their current state. Future work is also one category of the document as well as the next steps.
This time the order of procedure is slightly different compared to the SCR to speed up the process: each subsystem presented its system definition to PhD candidates of the Chair of Astronautics. The feedback is now incorporated directly while writing the System Definition document.
Purpose of a SDR
The objective of the SDR is to demonstrate that we have elaborated a system architecture for the CubeSat that is plausible, feasible, and achievable. The further the project progresses, the more difficult and time-consuming it becomes to make changes.
It is therefore important that we can identify and eliminate possible sources of error as early as possible.
What comes next?
In order to validate our systems, we are going to launch our satellite systems with a stratosphere balloon to perform certain tests end of 2020.
The successfull balloon launch represents our next big milestone, which will be completed with the Preliminary Design Review.