my name is Nico Maas and I am working for the German Aerospace Center (DLR). While keeping the lights (and IT) on in our controlrooms (for ISS and other experiments) is cool, my real passion is developing experiments for sounding rockets. Small rockets which venture into space for a small amount of time and bring back the experiments via heatshield and parachute. While the micro gravity times are not as long as with more “permanent” platforms (like satellites, space stations, etc) - the six minutes we achieve are more than long enough to gain significant scientific insights. To this day I had the honor of designing, building and flying 3 experiments to space - with the last one supporting cancer research. While (due to the funding issues) most of my experiments are build by myself in my sparetime and only certain components are paid for by my employee (and the project is too important to shelf ) - I was very happy to see Framework announce their Creators program - giving away a Framework Laptop motherboard to people which had an idea how to use it. I applied for one and luckily got chosen.
What I want to do with mine is relatively simple: While the experiments are within the rocket, they need to be provided with power, signals (have we left the launchpad? Have we reached space? Are we due for re-entry?) as well as a telemetry pathway (signals and sensor data from the experiment), a telecommand pathway (the possibilty for the experiment to get commands on what to do next, start different cycles, etc) and a video channel (i am providing a video signal from a flying microscope my colleagues of the flight medicine built afterall. we want to see what our samples are doing! ). All these requirements are satisfied by a drum called “Service Module”. And as the experiment is built against the requirements and interfaces of this system, it is more than important to have one for yourself. Ok. Those things are downright too expensive - so that not many exist on earth. That means we have to do the next best thing: Simulate it. And as we all know: Simulation needs a lot of processing power.
While the interface to the experiment is handled by (the now third generation of ) a simulator box I am building, there needs to be some control. The framework motherboard has more than enough power to run the complete environment consisting of Mission Control Software for the Payload, Timeline Simulators, Countdown Clock Simulators and Video Recording - as well as giving a Touchscreen to give basic control over the system.
While I will not be able to cover everything in greatest of detail - due to the nature of the project (and some papers still being pending regarding parts that will be used in this project), I will still like to share some progress
And this is what it could look like in the future:
Thanks again at Framework for having me