At the end of the Fall semester, the SERPENT team went through the next review of the UNP mission cycle, the Preliminary Design Review, or PDR. At this review, we received a lot of constructive criticism on individual subsystem performance as well as the overall mission architecture. After evaluating the feedback, it was determined that we needed to make some major architectural changes to our mission, as it was deemed complex and difficult to achieve given our current resources. Given the situation it was deemed necessary to host a PDR-Delta review, as our mission architecture needed to be solidified to allow for component procurement and testing before the Critical Design Review (CDR) projected to occur early in the Spring 2021 semester.
This review allowed for a complete re-examination of the mission level objectives and confirm with the mission customers that the projected changes to the mission architecture would satisfy their requirements. The review went very well, and the simplification of the mission inspired confidence in the team that the mission is now much more achievable.
New Mission Architecture
The primary change to the SERPENT mission is the elimination of the second satellite. Instead of launching two 6U CubeSats, CORAL and KING, SERPENT now only consists of a singular 6U satellite that will release a small, passive target from a bay. This target shall have identifying patterns that SERPENT will utilize to aid with trajectory reconstruction of the target post-deployment. This change allows the pose estimation algorithms being developed in-house to be tested more thoroughly.
This change in architecture has also allowed for the inclusion of running stress tests on the Jetson TX2i in the Low Earth Orbit environment as a secondary experiment to be conducted after the primary experiment’s completion. This will be done to aid the characterization of Jetson TX2i in adverse radiation environments.