Tuesday, 12 February 2019

FOSDEM 2019

A snowy welcome on the saturday!



 The huuuge keynote by mad dog. Amazing sight!

I was incredibly lucky to go out to FOSDEM as part of the Libre Space Foundation (LSF) team the other week and despite lots of snow and travel disruption had a great time hanging out and working over in Brussels. It was my first time at FOSDEM and I was blown away by the worlds largest conference. It was fabulous to be able to move around and see and meet the teams behind some of the most prevalent open source software, debian, opensuse, grafana, gitlab, nextcloud and so many more. As currently I am freelancing mainly as a writer I made sure to have a little chat and express my thanks to the Libre Office team, whilst it might not be the most exciting platform in the world it does provide me with the basic tooling to earn my living!


Above, the Gitlab team who have been great supporters of LSF. 

LSF/SatNOGS contributors meet the Grafana team (and inform them of an Influx db bug they found!!)

Going out early the LSF set up camp in a large apartment (The Mansion) and LSF contributors poured in from all over europe staying a while to have meetings, hack on code and discuss development face to face. Its astonishing, humbling and exciting to see these volunteers pour their considerable skills into LSF project. As a more mechanical guy it was hard to follow much of the development but everyone was incredibly kind and patient and willing to teach others. Very affirming. (Although there was some discussion around rocketry hardware which funnily made me boot my tiny laptop to show how my ematch ignitor circuit works!)

Team... looking tired on the Saturday night!



Flying Ryan air means taking the worlds tiniest laptop!


A busy booth


FOSDEM was incredibly busy and I spent some time each day helping on the LSF booth, speaking to a constant flow of people from all over the planet about our missions to democratise space and provide open hardware and software to enable people to get involved. Hopefully it results in more people supporting what we do but also I feel sure that certainly a few more people are interested in moving towards setting up their own SatNOGS groundstations on the global network.

General picture dump..


Loved this!



So many LSF people! All in to see Alex Csete talk about our SDR makerspace project




Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Project Roundup!



Been a while since I posted here so thought I might get the ball rolling again with a little round up of current projects I am tinkering on. Above is a picture of a planned level two rocket build I am starting to work on as it would be great if I could get my L2 certification flight and exam done this year and also pass my RSO (Range Safety Officer) as well. That would mean that it could be possible for me to officiate over other people HPR flights but could also look into the possibility of running a launch event more locally?



I've also on an off since before Xmas been tinkering with some odd parachute designs, first playing with plastic and tape and now moving to making a ripstop nylon version. These hexagonal annular parachutes fly quite well, have low side loading and seem very strong due to the way the shroud lines continue over the canopy. I'm slowly developing more skills and knowledge around recovery/chute making and have a few other projects I want to explore.



I've also been tinkering on and off with a simple GPS tracker design using a NEO6 gps board and  HC12 radios. My current off the shelf GPS tracker (works on mobile network) is too large for a 29mm rocket airframe I am considering and therefore this route gives more options in terms of getting it to fit. The tracker currently spits whole NMEA sentences which are received by another HC12 hooked up to the one note mini laptop and the whole thing acts as a wireless serial bridge. 


Finally been making, machining and tinkering with various things to write some more articles for Hackspace Magazine, I'm really enjoying the writing and hopefully the articles are being well received! I'll post a roundup of articles out so far after the next issue with some of my work is published.