SFU has a club dedicated to space engineering, particularly the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge. I am one of two Chief Engineering Leads, responsible for overall system integration and design of the overall Cubesat board stack. As of September 2016, the club is just getting started. With the support of an enthusiastic and diligent team, we are developing a 3U Cubesat and scratch-building most systems onboard.
As practice for satellite design, the club launched a high altitude balloon in August 2016. Named Latobius 1, it was designed as an engineering test and had no specific science mission. As part of the computing team, I wrote a cooperative scheduler for the tasks the balloon had to perform. I also built the main power and data distribution board, designed the power system, and worked with the watchdog timer and sensor interfacing. It was an excellent exercise in system design, and the team developed a robust software stack for the project.
An early iteration of the main board.
Unfortunately, we were unable to recover the balloon. Difficulty arose from inaccurate simulations due to payload mass changes, and the frequency that the balloon sent location pings out. The team mounted two separate search hikes in an area near Merritt, BC around the location of 4 pings that were received. But dense forest made searching slow, and the payload was not recovered.