Monday, September 24, 2012

Mentor for a Day: Zeb Scoville NASA EVA

We had our 1st Mentor for a Day on Friday (9/21/12). Zeb Scoville from NASA's Extravehicular Activity team came to St. Agnes to talk about the history of Spacesuits and to show us all about the engineering challenges that have to be solved to survive a space walk. He also brought in a demonstration space suit and several of the pieces that make up the suit for us to get hands on experience with the end products.

His main talk can be viewed below.

Zeb also gave an excellent explanation of the Sep 5th spacewalk that required the Astronauts to improvise tools to fix a broken bolt on the Space Station. Video of that portion of the talk can be viewed here.

Photos of the Event can be found at this link.

It was a great experience for the team to get to learn from Zeb. We have several more Mentor for a Day sessions planned with engineers from the community and hopefully the rest of them will go as well.

- Spectrum

"To recognize that the greatest error is not to have tried and failed, but that in the trying we do not give it our best effort." - Foundations of Mission Operations

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moving Along Nicely

We have been progressing nicely on our VEX robots but we only have 18 days to have two completed robots for our 1st event. It's getting into crunch time.

 We are organizing the 1st league play event for Oct 6th at Strake Jesuit College Prep. We have many of the arrangements in place now and we just figuring out all the details that will make the event a success.

The new Houston VEX Robotics Competition is official. Look for it on the volunteer T-shirts for all Houston VEX events this year.

We're also working on a prototype FRC game that we should be able to publish the rules for next week. This is going to be used as a design challenge to CAD robots for this mock game. We hope to build a full robot if time permits in the fall to give some experience to our new team members and to work with some new tools that we have access to.

- Spectrum

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” - Timothy Ferriss

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

VEX Week 2

Our two VEX Robotics Competition teams have continued their prototyping work for the past few days. We have several collecting systems and a couple lifts in the works. Hopefully we will have initial design paths by the beginning of next week.

We may be doing another fall engineering competition called Canstruction. It benefits the Houston Food Bank and brings awareness to the problem of hunger in our community. You can view some of the past entries in the competition here: It's a large undertaking so we still have to work out a few logistical issues before we are committed.

Planning is in full swing for the 1st Houston VEX League event that will be held at Strake Jesuit College Prep on Oct 6th. If you are interested in volunteering for the event please fill out the form here:

- Spectrum

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." - John D. Rockefeller

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Start of the VEX Season

We've been meeting for about two weeks and most of that time has been spent getting introduced to the VEX robotics system and doing strategy analysis for the VEX game Sack Attack.

One of the ways we do strategy analysis is to simulate the game using members as the robots. It allows you to see a lot of possible game strategies. You can see a sample match below.

We also have several other projects working at the same time as our VEX teams. We have several different programming projects, we are working on an FRC prototype game, we are doing website work, we are working on our business plan and others. We're trying to make it as productive of a semester as we can.

Hope to see everyone at the first ever robotics competition held at Strake Jesuit College Prep on Oct 6th.

- Spectrum

"You can learn more from failure than success. In failure you’re forced to find out what part did not work. But in success you can believe everything you did was great, when in fact some parts may not have worked at all. Failure forces you to face reality." - Fred Brooks,