At its core, building a successful UAS is about solving the systems integration challenge of bringing together many system components into one cohesive whole. This page describes those components.
Parts of the system that are directly part of the aircraft.
The club has flown a Piccolo LT autopilot since 2006. This, along with an external magnetometer and laser altimeter, provides fully autonomous flight for the system. The Safety Switch provides switching between autopilot and manual control.
As of 26-May-2015, the club is using the SVS-VISTEK Camera as its primary EO camera. The club has also been using an IRC Tamarisk 320 IR camera.
Since early 2013, the imagery system has been built around a core ARC Python library, which provides a clean API for accessing flights, images, and their embedded telemetry. It provides commonly used functionality, such as determining the point in space of any pixel in an image. Work on determining the point in space of pixels in an image, when the camera is not nadired is underway.
The imagery system is coordinated by the flight computer on board the aircraft. The current flight computer is Quetzalcoatl.
Parts of the system which are located on the ground.
The club's Ground Control Trailer (GCT) is used both to transport the aircraft and other equipment, and to serve as a place for autopilot and payload operators during missions. It has AC power provided by a Honda generator, and provides a internal Ethernet network. Antennas are also permanently mounted on the roof of the trailer, to support system operations.
The club uses an auto-tracking antenna array to maintain a better radio link with the aircraft. The current auto-tracker in use is Senator Palpatine.
Auxiliary parts of the system that are located in the ARC lab.
In the lab, the webserver hosts the club's website and also provides backups of the imagery computer. Besides the main website, it also hosts this wiki, the bug-tracker, system documentation, and the club's code repositories.
The current webserver is Muninn.