Laser Communication

Data Transfer for a CubeSat

Documentation and Downloads

  • Final Report
  • PERT Chart
  • WBS
  • Project Assignment
  • Preliminary Design Review
  • Mid-Summer Lunch Presentation
  • All Presentations
  • Daily Updates

    July 11, 2011

    It's been a busy couple of days, and all the projects have exciting things going on. On the Team LASER end, the receiver is getting more and more polished. Our two-dimensional turret works well most of the time. However, one of the motors is having some trouble- it heats up and occasionally gets off track. Because the other motor consistently works well, we're confident in our design, and plan to replace the failing one.

    We're also finishing up the mountings for everything on the receiver. The turret, webcam, lens, and screen are all coming together. The most difficult part has been mounting the lens exactly parallel to the screen. The screen needs to be at the exact focal length of the lens. The laser must be perfectly focused for us to determine the direction it came from. This part is almost done, and the "box," as we call it, should be finished tomorrow afternoon, with everything mounted nicely, and the screen and webcam in a dark area, to avoid ambient light.

    Lastly, we've begun designing the CubeSat end of the system. This will also be a laser turret in a box, however, we are attempting to make a more space efficient turret, given the small size of the CubeSat. We will post images of our design soon.

    July 7, 2011

    We're a little bit late in updating, but now we have quite a bit to report. On the mechanical side, we've finished machining our laser turret. This step allows us to test our laser following algorithm in two dimensions (up/down, left/right), and with a much higher resolution than our proof of concept demonstration.

    Additionally, we have mounted our webcam on the target, so that it can see the laser on the screen, inside the box. This was a challenge, because the laser cannot be in the center of the box, or else it will block the incoming laser. Instead, we have it mounted on top, looking down at an angle. This creates a major skew, which means that the webcam won't know where on the screen the laser is focused. To fix this, we marked the four corners of the screen with LEDs. These LEDs flash on startup every time the program is run to tell the program what pixels on the webcam correspond to the corners of the box. We then implemented some geometry to calculate where the laser is actually hitting. After a few trials, this works beautifully.

    Now that we can fire a laser anywhere, and see a laser on our screen, we are almost done with the receiver station. Timing is on our side, because as soon as we finished these two milestones, our lens came in the mail! We are now working on a mount for the lens, which needs to be placed as parallel to the screen as possible. When this is done, we can test our laser tracker with every piece of the system improved from our last demonstration.

    June 28, 2011

    Apologies in advance, but this won't be that exciting of a daily update. The team spent most of the time working on their other projects (read: Electron Focusing Lens) and didn't get to work on this project for much time at all yesterday. We did however test out the new webcam, and it is an immense improvement over the laptop webcam. Our spot detection software works much cleaner now, mainly because the image from the camera looks much cleaner. This bodes well for the resolution of what we can detect with our reciever. We'll finish creating the turret for the laser tomorrow, and then plan to re-assemble the laser tag setup to test the laser moving in two dimensions.

    Morning Presentation

    June 27, 2011

    Hello everyone! It's been a long time coming but the daily updates are finally starting to happen. The rest of the content for this site should be up by the end of the day tomorrow, we have a lot to show for the first month of this internship. Our project is going well so far, and luckily we haven't hit any major roadblocks. Continue to explore the site, exciting things should be appearing shortly. Here is the presentation for this morning, as well as the presentations for all of the other morning meetings we've had so far. We understand these may be a little hard to understand becuase of the lack of daily updates, so feel free to contact us with any questions you may have- details are on the team page.





    7.14.2011 (Mid-Summer Lunch Presentation)








    6.23.2011 (Preliminary Design Review)