Posts with «satellite» label

Hackaday Links: April 26, 2020

Gosh, what a shame: it turns out that perhaps 2 billion phones won’t be capable of COVID-19 contact-tracing using the API that Google and Apple are jointly developing. The problem is that the scheme the two tech giants have concocted, which Elliot Williams expertly dissected recently, is based on Bluetooth LE. If a phone lacks a BLE chipset, then it won’t work with apps built on the contact-tracing API, which uses the limited range of BLE signals as a proxy for the physical proximity of any two people. If a user is reported to be COVID-19 positive, all the people whose BLE beacons were received by the infected user’s phone within a defined time period can be anonymously notified of their contact. As Elliot points out, numerous questions loom around this scheme, not least of which is privacy, but for now, something like a third of phones in mature smartphone markets won’t be able to participate, and perhaps two-thirds of the phones in developing markets are not compatible. For those who don’t like the privacy-threatening aspects of this scheme, pulling an old phone out and dusting it off might not be a bad idea.

We occasionally cover stories where engineers in industrial settings use an Arduino for a quick-and-dirty automation solution. This is uniformly met with much teeth-gnashing and hair-rending in the comments asserting that Arduinos are not appropriate for industrial use. Whether true or not, such comments miss the point that the Arduino solution is usually a stop-gap or proof-of-concept deal. But now the purists and pedants can relax, because Automation Direct is offering Arduino-compatible, industrial-grade programmable controllers. Their ProductivityOpen line is compatible with the Arduino IDE while having industrial certifications and hardening against harsh conditions, with a rich line of shields available to piece together complete automation controllers. For the home-gamer, an Arduino in an enclosure that can withstand harsh conditions and only cost $49 might fill a niche.

Speaking of Arduinos and Arduino accessories, better watch out if you’ve got any modules and you come under the scrutiny of an authoritarian regime, because you could be accused of being a bomb maker. Police in Hong Kong allegedly arrested a 20-year-old student and posted a picture of parts he used to manufacture a “remote detonated bomb”. The BOM for the bomb was strangely devoid of anything with wireless capabilities or, you know, actual explosives, and instead looks pretty much like the stuff found on any of our workbenches or junk bins. Pretty scary stuff.

If you’ve run through every binge-worthy series on Netflix and are looking for a bit of space-nerd entertainment, have we got one for you. Scott Manley has a new video that goes into detail on the four different computers used for each Apollo mission. We knew about the Apollo Guidance Computers that guided the Command Module and the Lunar Module, and the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer that got the whole stack into orbit and on the way to the Moon, but we’d never heard of the Abort Guidance System, a backup to the Lunar Module AGC intended to get the astronauts back into lunar orbit in the event of an emergency. And we’d also never heard that there wasn’t a common architecture for these machines, to the point where each had its own word length. The bit about infighting between MIT and IBM was entertaining too.

And finally, if you still find yourself with time on your hands, why not try your hand at pen-testing a military satellite in orbit? That’s the offer on the table to hackers from the US Air Force, proprietor of some of the tippy-toppest secret hardware in orbit. The Hack-A-Sat Space Security Challenge is aimed at exposing weaknesses that have been inadvertantly baked into space hardware during decades of closed development and secrecy, vulnerabilities that may pose risks to billions of dollars worth of irreplaceable assets. The qualification round requires teams to hack a grounded test satellite before moving on to attacking an orbiting platform during DEFCON in August, with prizes going to the winning teams. Get paid to hack government assets and not get arrested? Maybe 2020 isn’t so bad after all.

Making Space Accessible to Students with U of M Satellite

The U of M Satellite project started in 2010 as a student group at the University of Manitoba with the goal of building a nano satellite (10 x 10 x 34 cm) and make space accessible to the public. We got in touch with Ahmed Byagowi, co-founder of the project, who teaches robotics in the same university. Ahmed told us that U of M Satellite became soon very popular, in fact  more than 300 students joined the group. In the first iteration the satellite’s goal was studying a micro animal (about 1 mm) called tardigrades and see its behaviour in space. The second iteration started in 2012, the same year of the launch of the Arduino Due and that’s why they designed everything based on it.

We had a nice talk with Ahmed and asked a bit more about the project.

Why is space so important for research, and why it would be cool if more people could have access to it?

Space research is important because it challenges us to solve problems and find solutions which can translate to everyday life here on Earth. The products of space research and space technology are all around us today. From the ballpoint pen, all the way to GPS, special composite materials, special surgical equipment and satellite communication.

For a while, only government and military had access to space. However, over the past decade there has been a rapid increase in commercial and public access to space. Private companies can take risks that the government and military can not, which leads to even bolder and newer technologies being developed.

For the general public, there are many creative and dynamic thinkers in the world who may not be able to share their ideas through a government agency or company. Public access to space allows more people to innovate on their own terms, and with 7 billion people on this planet, surely there are a great deal of innovation to be found.

With more people involved in researching space technologies, even more ideas can reach fruition, which can hopefully lead to technologies that will benefit life here on Earth even more.

There are other open source projects going to space (i.e. Ardusat), how’s U of M Student Satellite different or similar to others?

Ardusat is using Arduino as its payload (in fact, 16 of them) to run certain experiments in space and its main controller system is based on other processors and software. On the other hand, UMSATS’ satellite is going to be based on the Arduino Due architecture (the main controller) aided by the Arduino Zero and Arduino Uno’s design for payload and other controllers such as attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and power management as well as onboard image processing.

In which way open source is making exploration of space possible?

Open source makes things more accessible and helps a community work together to solve problems. If more open source platforms become available that can aid in space exploration, people can focus their efforts more on the next big problem using tools already developed, instead of resolving the same problems over and over again (reinventing the wheel). Plus, learning from watching other people’s work is a great way to learn things and apparently for some people like me or Massimo, this is best way to learn programming (based on Massimo’s TED talk).

Could you give us a bit more details on how you are using Arduino DUE ?

Our main Command and Data Handling (CDH) controller is based on the SAM3X8E and we are using Arduino Due’s bootloader and IDE for the software development. We added some more software layers as well as a scheduler and we aim to open source the entire software and hardware as soon as possible. In the picture of our motherboard below, you can clearly see the SAM3X8E and on the top right, there is a SMD version of the ATMEGA328P running and Arduino Uno core and acts as the beacon transmitter. This board encompasses the CDH, ADCS, Power and Communication of 2 meter and 70 cm bands (144.390MHz and 435MHz ham radio bands).

A famous quote of Massimo’s Banzi says: “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great” and in your TED talk you start saying “You can make big things using small tools”, what’s the relations between the two?

There is no formula for greatness. We live in a time where anything is truly possible, and the way to achieve your goals is numerous. Nobody said we couldn’t do something big with our small satellite, and we didn’t ask if we could either. Instead, we try to do big things with small tools that are accessible to us.

Arduino Blog 03 Apr 18:22

Makers in Space: What Was Old Is New Again

Setting the record straight on the history of Do-It-Yourself satellites.

Read more on MAKE

Space experiments for everyone: the ArduSat project

ArduSat, which stands for “Arduino satellite”, is a recently kickstarted project that aims at developing an open platform usable to emulate space scientists:

Once launched, the ArduSat will be the first open platform allowing the general public to design and run their own space-based applications, games and experiments, steer the onboard cameras to take pictures on-demand, and even broadcast personalized messages back to Earth.

ArduSat will be equipped with several sensors (such as cameras, gyros, accelerometers, GPS and more) packed inside a small cube (the side will be approximately 10 cm long) that can be accessed through a set of Arduinos.

Once in orbit, the ArduSat will be accessible from the ground to flash the required firmware for the experiments and for getting back all the collected information. People interested in performing space experiments will have access to a ground replica of ArduSat explotable to test and debug their code before the actual deployment.

The project is very ambitious, and it is expected that such an open accessible space platform will have a considerable impact on how simple space experiments will be carried out in the forthcoming years, in the case of fundraising success.

You may find the Kickstarter page of the project here.

[Via: Hack A Day and Kickstarter]

ArduSat wants to put Arduino satellite, your experiments into orbit

Short of scoring a spot on the ISS experiment docket, putting your scientific aspirations into orbit can be a bit tricky. Why not try crowdsourcing your way into space? ArduSat's barking up that very tree, asking Kickstarter contributors to help them get a Arduino CubeSat off the ground. Headed by NanoSatisfi, a tech startup operating out of NASA's Ames Research Center, the project hopes to raise enough funds to launch an Arduino bank and a bevy of open-source sensors into orbit. The payoff for backers? Access. Varying levels of contribution are rewarded with personalized space broadcasts, remote access to the space hardware's onboard cameras and even use of the machine's sensors to run experiments of the backer's own design. If all goes well, the team hopes to launch more satellites for the everyman, including a unit dedicated to letting would-be stellar photographers take celestial snapshots. Sure, it's far cry from actually launching yourself into the stars, but would you rather be a tourist, or a scientist? Check out project at the source link below, and mull over that for awhile.

ArduSat wants to put Arduino satellite, your experiments into orbit originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 18 Jun 2012 04:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Arduino geek develops Cold War Angst, starts spying on satellites (video)

Start with some Arduino and Gameduino hardware, add a splash of PLAN-13 satellite tracking software from 1983, and finish with a healthy dose of libertarianism. The result? A neat little hack called Angst, designed and built by Mark VandeWettering (aka Brainwagon). It can store details of up to 750 satellites on 128KB of EEPROM memory and display their predicted orbits in all the glory of SVGA. Don't get lazy though -- the most reliable way to track those pesky snoops in the sky is still to don your anorak, step outdoors and snoop right back.

Continue reading Arduino geek develops Cold War Angst, starts spying on satellites (video)

Arduino geek develops Cold War Angst, starts spying on satellites (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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