Work on "KiwiSAT’ continues on several fronts.

With much of the basic mockup structure completed attention has been turned to the electronics design and some key decisions were essential. These have now been made. It is planned to uplink to the satellite on two bands - 70cm (U ) and 23cm (L). The downlink will be on the 2Mtr Band (V).

With the bands now decided, progress is underway on the antenna system and a set of parts have been produced for the U and V Band antenna supports together with the necessary feeder network connections boxes. The antennas will use traditional "measuring tape" material and a second mockup – this time in ‘skeleton’ form - has been built to allow the antennas to be cut, interconnected and tuned. 

The mock-up is in use by Committee member Terry Osborne (ZL2BAC) who has undertaken to do the work. Use of a ‘skeleton’ offers a number of advantages. Firstly, modification of the parts and the layout is easy whilst still placing the antennas in their relative positions to each other and enabling meaningful measurements to be taken. This will be particularly important when the third system – the L Band antenna – is integrated into the design. As the various layout options are evaluated the skeleton will be shrouded in aluminium foil to represent the structure and "complete the cube". The completed system will be computer modelled to establish its radiation pattern and finally evaluated in a test chamber which has been kindly made available by the NZ Defence Technology Agency.

Whilst the antennas are being worked on using the ‘skeleton’ mockup it has been possible to progress the structure using the main engineering unit. Using this Fred Kennedy (ZL1BYP) has completed the basic launch support and separation structure and has installed the release indicator and ‘power up’ switches on the satellite and on the launch frame. Many of the parts progressed are not strictly ‘mockup’ as they are to be used for the eventual launch of "KiwiSAT". Without knowing the launch agency to be used it has not been possible to fully machine some items and additional design work will be necessary to integrate our support with that of the launch vehicle. Some items are therefore part machined for completion when the launch agency is known and details of their integration and release mechanisms are available. This is well down track at the moment but with the bulk of the work done we are in a good structural engineering position to take advantage of a last minute launch opportunity should one present itself. A very useful ‘shot for the locker’!

It may seem that all is in hand but that is far from the case.


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Last updated 22/07/2002