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Call for Presentations and Exhibitors @ Mach 30’s Apogee 3

Call for Presentations and Exhibitors @ Mach 30's Apogee 3

The team at Apogee 2

Save the Date!

This year’s Apogee 3 event will take place on the weekend of August 6th 2016 at TechShop-DC in Arlington, VA.

Mach 30 is preparing for our 3rd annual Apogee event to grow the Mach 30 community through in-person face-to-face interactions.  We are looking for individuals or groups who are interested and available to speak or exhibit. The event is scheduled for August 6, 2016 and we are would love to include any group or project to have representation from the local community. We hope that you know of folks who are available to participate!

Here are the specifics:
Why: To showcase your projects related to spaceflight with an emphasis on Making or Open-source processes.
What: Space-related Makerfaire-style event with exhibit booths and speakers/presentation program.
When: Saturday, August 6, 2016 from 10am-4pm
Where: TechShop-DC Arlington, VA
Registration: Free for 1 exhibitor or speaker, $10 registration/each additional person.
How: Let us know by using this Google Form within the next 3 weeks (no later than July 3, 2016) if you would prefer to exhibit or speak. The assignments of booth space and speaker schedule will be finalized on July 10, 2016.

Details:

Exhibitors will receive 1 free admission ticket, a 4×4 ft table (share a 4×8 ft table) with power and wifi. Additional resources may be available upon request.

Double Exhibitors will receive 1 free admission ticket, a 4×8 ft table with power and wifi. Additional resources may be available upon request.

Speakers will receive 1 free admission ticket, a 30 minute window (we recommend leaving plenty of time for questions) to present their story, and audio & video projection equipment. Additional resources may be available upon request.

 

Apogee is Mach 30’s annual gathering for its volunteers and fans.  One part conference, one part public outreach, one part Makerfaire, and one part party, Apogee 3 has something for everyone.  Mach 30 has long held that meeting in person is an essential part of our work and key to accomplishing our mission of hastening humanity into a spacefaring civilization.  So, join us at Techshop, this August for a chance to meet your fellow volunteers and the Mach 30 Board in person and to celebrate our shared passion for open source spaceflight.

Mach 30 Needs Makers

Saturn V Documentation | Mach 30 Needs Makers

Saturn V Documentation

Mach 30 wants to publish the best documentation for open source hardware projects in the world. In fact, we must do this to achieve our mission of hastening the advancement of humanity into a space faring civilization. Why? Because space is hard and we don’t want to make it harder for other makers by providing incomplete or inaccurate documentation.

And you can help us without writing a single page of documentation. How? By making your own copies of Mach 30 projects and providing feedback (in the form of comments on project forums) about what worked, what didn’t work, and what was confusing in the project’s documentation.

Want to take it a step further?  Share pictures and videos of your creation on social media.  Or go all the way and join us for one of our weekly stand up meetings and tell us “in person” how things went. Bonus: you’ll meet other makers who share your passion!

That’s all it takes. You get to make cool things (anything related to space is instantly cool) and we get to find out what we overlooked in our documentation (from a misplaced comma to uncommitted source code to a typo in a part number). Plus, at Mach 30 we firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due. So we make it a point of thanking our friends and volunteers with everything from tweets to t-shirts to mission patches to community awards.

Ready to be part of our community of makers? Great, because the Mach 30 Integrated Product Team for Ground Sphere needs your help.  Right now we are testing out whether you really can download images from space (weather satellite pictures to be exact) for under $30.  Every step of our test is documented so you can dive right in and try things out for yourself.  This is a great opportunity to check out Software Defined Radios (SDRs) and satellite orbits.  And, once we wrap up Apogee III, we will turn our attention to using what we learned to design our third generation ground station, which will mean lots of small and medium sized projects to make and share.  Leave a comment below or on the Ground Sphere v3 forums to get started.

ad astra per civitatem – to the stars through community

Ground Sphere Mk III Sprint 1 Review

Ground Sphere Mk III Sprint 1 Review | Mach 30

Ground Sphere Mk III Mission Logo

Like we mentioned in the 2016 Annual Plan, Mach 30 is shifting from discipline specific project teams, like the #EngineerSpeak and marketing teams, towards working as a consolidated Integrated Product Team (IPT). The IPT merges the technical, business, marketing, and all other aspects of a project into a single focused effort. This approach improves cross-discipline communication and helps to incorporate feedback from all stakeholders.

The best way to experience these benefits is by observing the nature and quality of our team’s work. Fortunately, the use of Agile methods gives Mach 30 regular opportunities to review our team’s work in the form of Sprint Reviews. At the beginning of each 6 week sprint the Mach 30 IPT commits to accomplishing a set of tasks, called Product Backlog Items or PBIs. The team then holds a review at the end of the sprint to report on which tasks they completed and how those tasks were accomplished.

Our first IPT, which is working on a third generation of the Ground Sphere satellite receiving station, just wrapped up its first sprint. So, how did they do? Let’s start by looking at what the six person team committed to:

  • Marketing
    • Register social media accounts for Ground Sphere on Twitter, Instagram, Vine
    • Post the March edition of Launch Pad, the Mach 30 newsletter
    • Design mission logo for Ground Sphere Mk III
    • Post weekly IPT progress (aka – materials from stand ups, etc) on Mach 30 social media outlets
  • Engineering
    • Technical literature review of comparable systems (amateur and open source ground receiving ground stations)
    • Research and identify a source for link budget calculations (including test cases)
    • Reproduce the Listening to satellites for 30 dollars blog post results

This list is a great mix of both marketing and engineering work to create a foundation for sharing technical results and to prepare a refresh of the Ground Sphere design.  And the best news is that the team completed six of these seven tasks (everything but the link budget calculation research).  As it turned out the link budget calculation research was a larger task than anticipated, but the team still accomplished lots of good work on this task.  The team also took on a stretch marketing task: connecting with makerspaces to solicit help replicating Ground Sphere tests.  Fablab TacomaNova LabsCatylator Makerspace, and Hack Canton have all expressed interest.

So that means in the first six weeks of the project the IPT established the ground work for sharing Ground Sphere on the internet, began critical technical literature reviews, and conducted a live test of a similar system.  It turns out we were only able to replicate the circumstances of the blog post but not the results (as the Mythbusters would put it), but we are already working on replicating the results by modifying the test in Sprint 2.

Finally, since we value transparency at Mach 30, we recorded the Sprint Review so anyone can take a look at the work the IPT has done.  Check it out below.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments about the Sprint 1 Review or the Ground Sphere Mk III project in general.  ad astra per civitatem

Mach 30 Annual Report for 2016 cover

Hot Off the Presses: Mach 30 Annual Report for 2015

We’re happy to announce that the Mach 30 Annual Report for 2015 is here! Although this is our second publication, it tells the story of a year of firsts in several areas: we used agile methods to manage the Mach 30 engineering team, unified the development of open source hardware and open source engineering tools, and really pushed outreach and marketing to promote our vision.

Our vice president Greg Moran mentions in his opening message that 2015 was a “rebuilding year,” having suffered from having too many projects and too few volunteers to carry them out. We’re very proud of 2015 — as you’ll see in this report, it’s proof that not only can we recover from setbacks, it’s also proof that we’ve learned along the way and have developed into a stronger, smarter team.

Publishing last year’s report was a huge milestone for Mach 30, because it signalled a new level of maturity. This report is a continuing commitment to, and more proof of, our transparent accountability.

With the 2015 Annual Report, we hope to cement our commitment to open source practices in all aspects of our organization, not just our technical projects. In other words, we’re sharing our story with you in the hopes of convincing you to join our cause.

We look forward to sharing many more annual reports. Happy reading!

Download the Mach 30 Annual Report for 2015.

Mach 30 Annual Report for 2016 cover

You can also read about our plans for this year, the biggest priority of which is developing Ground Sphere. We just finished a sprint as of press time — we’ll tell you all about it soon. Stay tuned!

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

You may have seen “Visions of the Future,” a series of posters that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released in February. It’s a gorgeous, futuristic-but-in-a-retro-kind-of-way set of 14 images that promote various spots in space as if they were travel destinations for everyone (which, by the way, is Mach 30’s ultimate goal). We’re giving away free prints of these, so if you want one, you should join our contest by signing up for our newsletter.

In one of the posters, you are urged to pack for “The Grand Tour.” This is a trip which can only happen once every 175 years, when Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune align. It was the route the Voyager 2 spacecraft took in 1977, where it revealed details about the outer planets.

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

In another illustration, you’re invited to witness the incredible light show on Jupiter. David Delgado, creative strategist at JPL, said that they took inspiration from one the of the lead scientists on the Juno mission (which is set to get to Jupiter in July.)

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

The Mars poster envisions a future in which humans have colonized the red planet, with a history that “would revere the robotic pioneers that came first.”

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

Don Clark, one of the designers, said that they wanted to capture the whimsy that old illustrated travel posters used to have, when photography was not yet very advanced. “That’s how we approached these posters, to capture that charm, optimism and hopefulness, and this whole idea of wanting to go on these trips.”

Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters Contest: Mach 30 is Giving Away Free NASA Posters

Mission accomplished, don’t you agree?

Anyway, the important question is this: do you want one of these NASA posters so you can hang it up on your bedroom or living room? (Or wherever you like to hang your posters — we don’t judge.) You’re in luck, because we’re giving away five prints!

All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter between now and April 15th. After that, we will randomly pick five subscribers who will get to choose the poster they want, which we will then print on 11×7 paper, and mail to them!

Bonus: you’ll get an extra entry when you share the contest on social media (one bonus entry per network).

Please note that as of now, we can only pick winners from subscribers who reside in the lower 48 states. Unfortunately, Mach 30 isn’t able to afford worldwide shipping at the moment. That said, we’d very much like it if you still subscribe to our newsletter even if you can’t win. Remember, every little thing goes a long way towards making open source spaceflight a reality!

Click here to join our mailing list. Good luck!

Learn more about Visions of the Future.