Here is our little baby: BIRDY.
As a student of the Paris Observatory, I was led to pick a project to learn from and get a first experience in a project related to aerospace. I learned about this project through Boris Segret.
Why did I choose this project? BIRDY aims directly at Mars. It was a good motivation! I am the daughter of my father. I grew up with Star Trek, Stargate… (He is a science fiction fan). And the reality does go beyond fiction – just read Jules Verne. Ok, let's stay focused, I am not convinced about any superluminal trip but I truly believe that Mars is the next giant leap for mankind.
The goal of BIRDY is to measure radiation on the Earth-Mars-Earth trajectory. Since it is small, it can't communicate when far away from Earth. It must thus calculate its position and deduce the correction by itself. A good trajectory is crucial - Gravity laws are not forgiving. That’s why the navigation function is like the mind of a bird. Its goal is to keep the CubeSat safe, and manage navigation, acquisition time and data transmission time.
I worked on BIRDY’s Navigation Function with Audrey Porquet. Our job was to define the Navigation Function and the storyboard of Cubesat. We assumed that BIRDY has one camera and one main spin axis as shown in the picture. In this position Solar panels are always enlightened and can power all components and devices.
We chose to define 7 main stages in BIRDY's life:
1: Launch and drop of the CubeSat from the host mission
2: Journey towards Mars
3: Preparation for the martian flyby
4: Flyby of Mars
5: Just after the flyby
6: Trip back to the Earth
7: The end of life of the BIRDY
Then, we also defined 10 operating modes from waking up to data transmission. The storyboard and these defined modes were then delivered for further detailed analysis within the next months.
Human Spirit is full of curiosity and drives us to conquer space. BIRDY is an ambitious project in this sense. I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to work on it. I am a dreamer. I am a believer. I hope you believe in it too. Go to Mars, BIRDY. And come back home.