Student Involvement

Ground Radio Prototype

The Ground Radio Prototype aims to expose students to radio astronomy research by creating an antenna array that will localize transient bursts from lightning and tracking radio signals from solar bursts and distant planets. Currently, we are working on the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) ground prototype to observe various radio phenomena as a proof-of-concept for a future antenna array. The array will be a constellation of cross dipole antennas allowing us to operate the array as a single radio telescope to conduct an all-sky imaging analysis. 

Mechanical Subteam

The Mechanical Subteam will support the SunRISE mission by providing its expertise in designing, manufacturing, and testing all critical hardware components. This semester, the Mechanical Subteam will undertake the task of assembling and commissioning a ground-based radio prototype. The Mechanical Subteam interfaces with project managers and system engineers on providing and maintaining well-written documentation as well as progress reporting. SolidWorks, AutoDesk Inventor, and ANSYS are used to provide visual feedback and insights on each design iteration.

Electrical Subteam

The Electrical Subteam will support the SunRISE mission by providing its expertise in electrical components of the ground radio prototype. This semester, the Electrical Subteam’s primary tasks will be responsible for the installation of all cabling, ground equipment, and maintenance of the antenna’s active balum. In addition, the Electrical Subteam will work on mitigating power gain losses, dissipating static charges on the antenna, and design of front end electronics for a custom-built antenna.

Ground Support Equipment

The Mechanical Subteam is currently in the process of manufacturing a permanent support structure for the antenna to provide more support to the antenna pole and facilitate easier testing setup. The permanent structure is based on a tripod design with three aluminum tubes as legs and two polycarbonate collars around the antenna pole. Additional short aluminum tubes will be used to connect the lower collar to the legs and can be fastened through different holes along the length of the legs for adjustability.

Data Pipeline

The SunRISE Data Pipeline will be a student-developed software pipeline capable of post-processing SunRISE satellite data for various uses. The pipeline will be able to identify higher-than-background radio emission, beamform towards the emission source, then classify and store the radio emission event in question. It will also be able to produce both dirty and clean images of the radio emission of said events. Before post-processing SunRISE data (as the satellites don’t go up until 2023), the pipeline will be able to process data from the Ground Radio Prototype, also being developed by the MDP team.

The Software Subteam is responsible for the development of any and all software necessary for furthering the various projects being worked on by the full team. In particular, the Software Subteam is currently working on a pipeline to identify transient signals and beamform towards the source of said signals for the purpose of imaging sources of radio radiation. This will be applicable to both post-processing data from the SunRISE satellites once they are in orbit, as well as processing data from the Ground Radio Prototype which is also being developed by the team. Gitlab is used for version control.