The LunaDome project has been in myself and Sam’s life for over a year now. It has taken us on a long, exciting journey of learning and achievement. Back in March 2017, we went to India to present our prototype of LunaDome, and this got the ball rolling for the development of the full LunaDome experiment as well as sparking a wide range of interest in our community.
My team member Sam, who visited India again back in August 2017 worked in conjunction with engineers at the Team Indus facility in order to design a flight ready Mechanical system for LunaDome. This has been an ever ongoing process with changes constantly being made to ensure that when the launch day comes, LunaDome will be ready to fly. The complete re-design of the mechanical components, along with changing requirements from Team Indus have caused the electronics to also undergo a re-design. As well as this, recent breakthroughs have allowed me to make simplifications to circuit while maintaining its full functionality. This process has been ongoing for me in the last few months. It has been very much an iterative process of constantly responding to changing requirements. In addition, circuit analysis often shows the circuit not performing how expected and so requires slight adjustments here and there. It is now November 2017 and I can confirm that my control circuit is fully functional and will likely only require very minor changes before being combined with the mechanical side. Designing the circuit and the circuit board has been a great challenge for me. I have learnt so much, and overcome so many obstacles, and I have manged to do things I never thought I would be able to do. I’m hugely proud of what I have achieved and I know Sam feels the same about his mechanical system. Together we make LunaDome what it is, and together we share a huge sense of achievement for our team and our creation.
Looking forward, we know both the mechanical and electrical system will be manufactured at the Team Indus facility in India within the coming weeks. Sam and I require hands on work with these systems in order to test them, ensure they work correctly and then combine them to make the full LunaDome experiment. We have recently had meetings within the University Of Bath to discuss funding for our voyage back to India. I am happy to announce our discussions have been successful. Sam and I will be returning to the Team Indus facility in India in late November 2017. During the week-long trip, we will be working with their equipment to make LunaDome a true reality. This will stand it in a perfect position to fly atop a PSLV rocket and get in on course for the moon in March 2018, almost a year after the conclusion of the lab2moon competition.
We have come so far, and we really are so happy to see everyone around us has so much interest in the project. Everyday which passes the likelihood of LunaDome flying increases and when it does, it will not only become the first student project to have been sent to the surface of the moon, but also the first experiment designed completely by the British to ever reach the Lunar surface. Thank you so so much to everyone who has supported us. It really is starting to look like our dreams are becoming reality!
By Elliot Robinson
Software, Electronics and Control Lead