Successful Endeavours - Electronics Designs That Work!


Satellite Internet

There are many areas of the world where Internet services are not readily accessible. One of the ideas for providing poorly services areas with Internet was g

Google’s Project Loon which used high altitude balloons.

But there are also Satellite Internet contenders. Theses were nicely covered by recent blogs at CIS 471 and I’ve picked out some essential bits of information.


Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

Boeing Satellite Internet Plan

The image above shows Boeing‘s plans to cover the earth with 2956 satellites. You can read more at Boeing’s satellite Internet project.


The next company is SpaceX who are also involved in rocket and satellite design. They are looking at 4425 satellites in low earth orbit.

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX Satellite Back Haul

SpaceX believe that they can speed up Internet Back Haul by reducing the number of router hops required. The example above shows 5 space hops (including up and down) replacing 14 conventional hops. You can read more at SpaceX satellite Internet project status update.


And OneWeb are looking to provide Global Internet access, especially to the developing world.

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

OneWeb Transceiver Footprint

They plan to use beam steerable techniques to allow frequency reuse and clean hand off as the satellites move overhead. And at seriously fast data rates. You can read more at OneWeb satellite Internet project status update.

What I found very encouraging is the degree to which BoeingSpaceX and OneWeb are collaborating and cooperating in order to make sure that they can coexist and all provide effective services. This included adjusting planned orbital heights and frequency usage.

So great to see another example of just how much Collaboration can enable opportunities, even when the collaborators look like competitors.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Space Travel

The is another step forward for the Virgin Galactic start up. It has now completed several trips into space including a recent flawless return cycle. And the mechanism used to launch the space vehicle is to get the craft to a high altitude using conventional lift then use a much smaller rocket to do the rest.

Here is the video which shows a vehicle much smaller than a Space Shuttle.

The full news story is at  Virgin Galactic wants to do moon cruises.

Space X has demonstrated rocket launch and is the first private space company to successfully dock with the International Space Station. I covered this in Space Goes Private. 

NASA Space Launcher

NASA has demonstrated assisted Space Launch using a glider.

 The key to the assisted launch is that it remove the need to keep enough fuel on the spacecraft to get the fuel into space. Up to 80% of the fuel on the space shuttle is to get the space craft and fuel into space. If you aren’t having to lift the fuel then you need a much smaller rocket.

And the use of aeronautical lift saves fuel for both the lift vehicle and the rocket. In the  case of NASA’s glider assisted lift, there is no fuel at all on the lift vehicle.

 The full IEEE article on NASA supported air and space technology programs is at Meet NASA’s Futuristic Drone Research Program.

Space Elevator

The ultimate lift vehicle is the Space Elevator.

It may be a while before we get to the Space Elevator but the gliders and use of aeronautical lift make a lot of sense as an next best step in getting into space.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2013 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Curiosity Landing

We were an excited bunch of Engineers as we watched the live feed from NASA of the landing of Curiosity on the surface of Mars. Given the telemetry delay of 15 minutes, the real landing had already happened. Here we were looking back in time as we were watching history being made. The tension and excitement were evident in the room and we felt it too.

Curiosity Landing

Curiosity Landing taken from the Mars Orbiter

As a team of Engineers who focus on the delivery of a brand new Electronics Design with the supporting Embedded Software, we know a little of what it is like to fire things up for the first time but celebrate that it didn’t go up in smoke. Not that this happens literally very often, but it is a good feeling to get confirmation that the careful design work has been successfully implemented. We develop up to 100 new Electronics Products each year so we have had some practice at this.

In space this is harder still for 3 reasons:

  • You can’t easily rework it if it goes wrong. It is too hard to get to it. It has to be right.
  • Radiation is much worse and the environment is more demanding. You can’t just use any technology for Aerospace Electronics Development.
  • A lot more investment is at stake.

The celebration when the first telemetry feeds came through as ‘Nominal’ was overwhelming. So this is what it looks like to deliver on $2B of R&D Investment!

Curiosity On Mars after successfully landing

Curiosity On Mars – front leg in view

And thoroughly deserved too. Though the use of ‘Nominal’ for such a great outcome is a little understated. But then this is Engineering and science. We know a little of what that is like though we don’t get to spend that level of investment in creating the future. Certainly the win last year for the Industrial Electronics Future Awards 2011 was a moment we savour.

You can watch the whole landing here:


 And some links you will enjoy if you are an enthusiast as I am

Curiosity parachuting to Mars

Curiosities first images

Mars Mt Sharp images

NASA Multimedia gallery

And some other space related posts are at Space.

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  This post is Copyright © 2012  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

SpaceX Dragon Docks with ISS

It has been a while in the making, but the the SpaceX Dragon capsule has docked with the International Space Station and the beginning of a new era is upon us. Private enterprise is now making deliveries into space.

SpaceX Dragon at the ISS

SpaceX Dragon at the ISS

At 6:56AM on 25 May 2012 the International Space Station grapple attached itself to the SpaceX Dragon craft preparing to dock. This has been a long time in the making and my congratulations go to the team at SpaceX for having made this possible. Designing systems for space is a lot harder than for terrestrial environments and in particular, the increased radiation means you have make sure Electronics Designs are able to handle that and protect themselves from inadvertent state changes as high energy particles penetrate the shielding and deliver directly to tracks, gates and junctions. Aerospace Engineering is just that bit tougher in these environments.

The full story can be read at ISS Welcomes SpaceX Dragon along with a good collection of pictures and a detailed description of the entire process.

Docking was completed at 8:52AM.

SpaceX Dragon Docked with ISS

SpaceX Dragon Docked with ISS

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  This post is Copyright © 2012  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd

OK, I couldn’t resist the title. But you will see why below.

This post was inspired by Romanian teenager Raul Oaida who engaged the help of Melbourne entrepreneur Steve Sammatino to put together a space project. Their motivation was to remind us all that we can now do many things because we want to, if we are determined enough.

What they did is to build a Lego model of the Space Shuttle and attach it to a helium-filled balloon then include a GPS and video camera. It was successfully launched into space where it attained a height of 35,000 metres. And they videoed the whole thing.  I have spent my life in Electronics Design and so examples like this of what you can do with modern electronics is something I get a particular kick out of. Enjoy.

The launch took place in central Germany because they could get the flight clearance there. It makes you wonder just what we could achieve if we get a vision for an objective like Raul did and then just “Make It Happen“! That’s going to be my thought for the rest of today.

You can read the full story in 2001: A Brick Odyssey. And they recovered the equipment afterward!

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years.  This post is Copyright © 2012  Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd