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Glorious Betrayal


I’m not an EE.  I was required to take one “electronics” class in college, and it was laughably basic.  Yet the PCBs I miraculously managed to design are about to go into space.  SPACE!  In my small university research group people end up wearing a lot of hats.  I never imagined an EE hat would become the hat I wanted to wear daily, and would consume my precious free time with splendid electrical tinker.  Something is assuredly wrong; I can’t seem to stop watching the EEVBlog.  What’s going on?  Betrayal!  Guilt!  A sense of an incorrect choice when I was just a freshman!  I chose to be an aerospace engineer.  I love wings and fluid dynamics, right?  Electronics? Not so much, right?

It started simply enough, as most projects do. Some ancient designs with parts long obsolete.  Old unpopulated PCBs of questionable origin also reared their ugly heads.  How can we move forward?  Then my boss flippantly quips, “We need new boards, whip up a new design.”  Crickets chirp.  Everyone is looking at their shoes.  Boss is staring right at me, I’m looking back.  (Actually, I was spacing out, but how could he know the real truth?)  Why, oh why, did I make eye contact?!  “I…  I guess I could give it a go?”  You fool!!  Ugh.  Anxiety hits.  Where can I actually get these things?  How do I make a PCB?  Gerber?  Excellon?  Dismay and misery.  Engineering wasteland.  All seemed lost.

  A couple of painful months pass.    Quickturn prototypes start arriving… arriving so fast it almost seems impossible?!  Mmmm, so pretty and green.  Silkscreen… mmmm.  Amazing!  Beautiful engineering transforming into physical boards that show up eerily fast!  This seems like some science fiction book; there must be a magical black hole that PCBs are extracted from.  Fast forward to today and we are mere months away from our launch.  Rocket experiment is packed with quickturn, silver, valueproto, and many other flavors of Sunstone boards.    Can I call myself an EE yet?  Nah, not yet… but I’m working on it. 
SLICE Sounding Rocket Payload (36.271) 
Brought to you by:  University of Colorado, University of Iowa, NASA WFF, WSMR , and all U.S. taxpayers.   (page 3)

- Shared October 11, 2012