Since we lost our only flight qualified Radio Communication module in April, our team was working on a new set of COM modules. We developed prototypes of a new COM family based on HopeRF RFMxx modules. Since these are proof of concept models we still need to test and validate them and choose the most suitable for our ReHAB system.
Two modules and the antenna of the new COM family
For test of the new COM modules we didn't want to use the full scale ReHAB system so we designed a POC Probe which we will use in our next few flights. This test programme is called Mid Altitude Test Flights (MATeF). The goal of each flight is to test each member of the new COM family in short flights under 20km.
The MATeF POC Probe has a smaller scale Arduino based On-Board Computer which has the UPRA Standard form factor which has the same bus connection as our ReHAB system. This provides the opportunity to test newly developed modules in flight.
In the future we would like to use the MATeF POC Probe to validate other prototype and proof of concept modules for the UPRA/ReHAB system before full scale missions.
MATeF POC Probe assembled
The probe has a styrofoam shell 25cm in diameter and 25mm wall thickness. The inner frame is made out of cardboard and has an MLI covered 'hot-box' for the electronics. The probe is equipped with a backup GPS tracker in the unlikely event of any malfunctions. The whole system is under 600 grams without parachute.
Inside the MATeF POC Probe
Currently it has no cameras on board, but we have plans to expand the system with an SJCAM HD camera.
This week we've had a radio test in 1500m range with the MATeF-1 flight configuration and the Ground Station. MATeF-1 will have an RFM-12b based low cost communication module. We are planning at least one flight in this year, hopefully in late November - early December. The target altitude will be 18000m and the planned flight time is 2-2.5 hours.