Inside the V-R3x space mission – CircuitPython is Now in Space #CircuitPython #Space @maholli404

The satellite trio “V-R3x” are now deployed and officially a (resounding) success. You might remember these sats: they’re the ones doing what SpaceX wishes Starlink could do + collecting the data Max Holliday’s PhD thesis, BUT, most importantly, they’re running PURE CIRCUITPYTHON! 🐍

Cutting edge tech, all open source (the files will be released when allowed), and conceptualized -> implemented -> integrated onto the rocket in less than one (trying) year.

Max writes:

I did all the hardware, software, and firmware for this mission (standing on the shoulders of Adafruit-giants, of course!) and I’m currently running mission operations. I haven’t slept in 3 days, but who’s counting. I’m grateful for the NASA support on the bureaucracy-side of things, but don’t give their site too many hits if they can’t be bothered to mention my one-man show 😋 https://www.nasa.gov/ames/v-r3x.

Fun pictures below. But before that, I wanted to share with you how awesome CircuitPython flight-software has been:

Turns out deployment from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 put our lovely trio (Littlefoot, Cera, and Petrie) into quite a tumble! Not to worry, they’re still mesh networking, talking to the ground, etc… but an unexpected side effect has been pitiful solar charging performance. Lucky for me, the flight-software has a command that will run Python’s: `exec()` function using anything I want as the arguments – the possibilities are endless! This has enabled countless little hotfixes, queries and tweaks over the past couple days, and I’ll be able to be able to upload a b-dot routine that uses the satellite’s built-in magnetic torque coils to detumble. Huzzah!

Long story short: CircuitPython means these satellites don’t have to become space junk for their remaining 6 years in orbit after they’ve completed their mission… they can be sandboxes! Adafruit made this possible. ❤

LOTS more to come. Max

Here are more pictures from the process:

Here are a couple of chassis curing in my reflow oven in my bathroom

 

And here are all the pcbs chilling on my windowsill while their staking epoxy cures

 

Me and the children

 

This morning’s “ground control” 🤣

 


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