Flight Testing: HAPP-T1

I still have a few posts to write regarding the HAPP's systems and construction; for example, the sensor and camera suites, and the ground side of the satellite communication system. Nevertheless, I thought I'd catch you up on the first test mission, HAPP-T1.

I'll tell you straight up that HAPP-T1 never left the ground (and was never supposed to). Let's step through the purpose of the test and the results.

HAPP-T1 was a live test of satellite telemetry in the field. Basically, I sat the HAPP core sans aeroshell in an open area with good sky exposure, and we verified (1) downlink of GPS positional data and spacecraft status, and (2) uplink of commands. James monitored the server-side action from mission control in Austin (sadly, not Houston) while I handled ground operations in Ann Arbor. The HAPP ran exclusively on internal power.

We call this the first "mission" because the HAPP was running autonomously in the field, and because it demonstrated the key functionality to enable us to fly, namely the telemetry downlink. If HAPP-T1 proved successful, we'd be ready fly a real mission immediately.

Is this an Imperial Probe Droid on Hoth or the HAPP core in a snowy field?

HAPP-T1 was a resounding success and produced data as shown in the image below. If you look closely at the numbers labeled "Payload" you can see the GPS coordinates being received by mission control. The red pin on the map is the location. The data payload from the satellite also contains various status codes and information such as vertical velocity and heading. We'll cover that in a future post.

Mission HAPP-T1: Success