Project development by Josh Koerpel
Instructions: You may work alone, or in groups of 2 or 3. You are encouraged to work with classmates in your lab section. This project is due on Wednesday, December 12th, by 7:00PM. Please note that there are only 44 PCs in the lab and over 240 students in the class. Not everyone can be in the lab at the last minute! You will be graded on the correctness of your solution, and on your programming style. This includes using loops correctly, writing useful comments, etc. Follow the Programming Style Guidelines at the end of the chapters! You will submit your solution both electronically and in person. Hand in a document consisting of a typed cover page, your solution, and the output. The cover page must include your name(s), lab section, the name of the submitted folder, the name of the main program file, the time it took for your code to run (see Tasks section), and a signed statement from each group member stating that the program is the original work of the group. Make sure that you also submit the folder containing every file needed to run the program electronically in the “Project Hand In” folder, one per group, with your name(s) on the folder. Background: First of all, congratulations! You have made it through the physical training and have been chosen as a member of the first-ever team of privatized astronauts. That is, you will be one of the first astronauts to fly into space upon a space shuttle produced in the private sector. As you sit there during the countdown to launch, try not to think about how the giant controlled explosion you’re strapped to was built by the lowest bidder. Before you actually get to launch into space however, you have to gain a familiarity with the zero gravity environment. To do this, you get to participate in BUSAT’s (Boston University’s Satellite Applications and Training) micro-gravity testing aboard a modified 727 aircraft, nicknamed the ‘vomit comet’. Here’s an example of how this testing looks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_crSIg72Wu0. Zero gravity is produced (simulated, to be more correct) in the following way - the plane itself flies in a parabolic trajectory, meaning the flight path of the airplane follows a sinusoidal curve. The portions of the flight path that are along the peaks of the sine curve are where zero gravity is experienced (see Figure 2). This is when the pilot throttles back after climbing at such a steep angle, the plane begins to free-fall, and your body momentum along with the passing over the Figure 1: The 45 degree pull-up of the vomit comet. For comparison, commercial airlines during take-off pull up at approximately 9 degrees.
Figure 2: The flight path parabola showing the steep angles required to simulate zero G. Notice that while not in zero G, as a passenger, you are experiencing almost 2 G.
‘crest’ of the sine peak causes you to experience roughly 20 seconds of a weightless environment. A typical flight consists of 40 parabolas in a row, allowing you to run a zero gravity experiment 40 times. As an engineer and part of this BUSAT and astronaut +Z +X team, you have been charged with the task of examining how a piece of scientific equipment will behave in the zero G environment. You need to ask yourself questions like these: What kind of external forces will this equipment be subjected to as it floats? The equipment is dynamic, meaning it has moving parts, so how will this dynamic behavior affect its +Y orientation in 3D space? Figure 3: The 6 degrees of freedom of an How will I measure these forces? aircraft. Linear movement in x,y,and z, The answer to the third problem is to measure the as well as rotational movement in roll, equipment’s accelerations using sensors called pitch, and yaw. accelerometers (these measure linear accelerations) and gyroscopes (these measure angular accelerations). The accelerations are useful because, thanks to Newton, we know that F = ma....