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.
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.
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.