Glider Team Episode 2

Glider Team Episode 2


The Glider mission aims to create an autonomous aircraft for monitoring hard-to-access locations. This robotic system must be capable of delivering high definition current 3D images of a pre-defined region. Time for completion: 9 weeks The Glider mission is one of the main projects of the Space Challenges program. To find out how the planning and development of the mission goes, what are the difficulties and challenges, and, of course, the entertaining moments, we turn to some of the main characters. My main duty in the Glider project was to write software for the aircraft, for obtaining the images and developing them into a 3D terrain map. My task was to develop the autonomous flying function of our robot, so no human intervention is necessary It is not just a remotely-controlled aircraft. It is a smart robot that flies on its own, on autopilot. It was my task to choose the right aircraft, since nowadays there are many possibilities. We chose the glider, as it can carry heavier loads, and at the same time it uses less power. Its wide wingspan allows it to catch the air currents. This is our first such project, and all these things were very new to us – in the beginning we literally didn’t know where to start, what to look for. After we had gathered all the parts, we had to figure out how to make them work together, so they don’t interfere. My colleague and I had to do a lot of soldering, tried different solutions. Even the soldering process was quite funny… We were at Sofia University, and we had to find a place to solder, but the Space Challenges lecture hall was not appropriate – we didn’t want to cause any damage, or to make the place stink of solder. So we had to find an electric outlet outside of the hall, but there were none in the hallways. Eventually, we found one in the women’s bathroom – so we brought in a table and chairs, and started soldering… After persistent efforts and many challenges for the Glider project participants, comes the moment of truth. Will the mission be successful, and how will the students react? Find out in the next episode.

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