Congratulations to everyone who submitted technical documentation to NASA for Ground Tournament 2! IT was certainly several sustained weeks’ worth of a mad dash to the finish.
Our method of coordinating this effort is best described as the “agile fill-what-gaps-you-can and use your curiosity and interest to tackle the remaining harder areas” method. There certainly were a lot of requirements to fill to necessitate this approach. On our Facebook page, we have a page-guessing contest with a prize for whoever can come closest to guessing how many pages we submitted in GT-2.
And geez it was long! This submittal was about double the page count from our GT-1 submission. The first component of our “kaleidoscope” that allowed us to succeed was our members, Alex, Don, and Bill who were constantly identifying needs, organizing, driving progress, and working to harmonize the ebb and flow of the process.
“Working in a team brings its own kind of rewards – I can expand on others ideas and test my own. Also, seeing someone else expand on my ideas and improve them. The 6U form has many limitations and that is a big advantage. Orson Welles once said that absence of limitations was the enemy of art.” -Don
NASA requires a very meticulous yet holistic approach to building a spacecraft and mission. Without this function there would be too many potentially catastrophic failures waiting to happen within your myriad of unknowns to have a successful mission. Some failures might even fail so spectacularly that they would endanger other scientific payloads that fly with your craft.
The second crucial component to prevent catastrophic failure is the deep-dive engineering, calculations, and special skills that make up a successful spacecraft and mission. Wes, Kathleen, Sydnie, Tim, Jeremy, and Jay were all instrumental in this part of the overall process. Whether it was Kathleen and Jeremy on computing, safety, and radiation management, Wes on propulsion and navigation, Tim on communications, Sydnie on software programing, or Jay on display and rendering this area is the “meat and potatoes” of the spacecraft and mission.
“Working on the GT2 Submittal document was a lot like scrawling on a wall with chalk, knowing your markings would be left on the wall well beyond when your name is forgotten. It is humbling and exciting at the same time knowing something you have sweat, bled, and lost sleep for will be circling the solar system, traveling faster than you can strive for, further than you could manage alone.” -Jay
Precision and expert knowledge is needed here. The first component of the kaleidoscope clears away and makes seamless all of the odds and ends so that our specialized engineering talent can focus on the technology development and answering the hard questions that NASA requires before new systems can fly on their launch systems.
The last section needed to pull it all together is the most agile, down and dirty section of filling in the gaps and the leadership to consistently execute. This is where not only our team lead, Wes, but everyone stepped up and kept in the game as problems and unexpected surprises arose. Our members volunteered to tackle the unknowns and go to extraordinary lengths to get these requirements done such as Seth tackling the technology development knowledge needed to account for spacecraft charging or our people taking paid time off/ foregoing revenue in their small businesses to fly across the country to perform radiation testing or vacuum chamber testing for our satellite. This component is the whole team wanting to win and stepping up to make sure that happens.
Here at team Miles, we all know that we face many other such teams of impressive caliber.
Each and every one of our daunting competitors and their stellar performance makes us want to be stronger, better with each passing day. We hope that we inspire the other teams to reach for new heights as well. We are, after all, working to make space a little closer for everyone to reach.