2022-08-21 - toy satellite project

some time ago i 3D-printed a toy Saturn V rockets for my sons. they loved it so space shuttle followed. then they got excited about james webb telescope, so i was time to print Ariane 5.

for Ariange 5 i took a model that has removable thermal shields and engines and then slightly adjusted it for better printing and assembly. “satellite” in set was not that much fou though – a small, hallow object.

therefor i decided to go full on with a model, that will:

  • have true solar panels (foldable),
  • fit into Ariane 5's cargo bay,
  • blink LED,
  • use morse code to convey a message

as side-quests i've also decided to learn KiCad for PCB design and prepare a fully-automated, dockerized build for all of the elements, that is:

playing with all of it in a spare time (read: (late) night time), it all took some time. especially taking into consideration that the end-result is a LED-blinking toy. ;D however the end result was worth it – cute, little toy, being both tour-the-force of automation and open-source tools. as planned, it also served as a conversation-starter to teach kids about tech and engineering. :)

as usual, the final toy satellite model is freely available on my github account. :)

unfolded on LED side unfolded on PV side

folded on top of Ariane 5 model

since i've ordered PCB to be manufactured (and this was a really small one ;)) i had to order a batch of 5. on top of that i got a couple more from PCB manufacturer for free. so if you'd like to play with it, and happen to live nearby, just ping me and i'll be more than happy to share these for free. :)

yes – that's the project that taught me how painful it might be to program AVRs running at low clock speeds. ;) free bonus… or is it? ;)

blog/2022/08/21/2022-08-21_-_toy_satellite_project.txt · Last modified: 2022/08/21 19:40 by basz
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