GOTCha Chart

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Project GOTChA chart

This quad chart gives a snapshot of the planned activities for the term, at a high level. This information is presented here in the form of a GOTChA chart.


  • Build an integrated team of Caltech Undergraduates, Graduates, and JPL Engineers that can win the DARPA SubTerranean Challenge
  • Complete the design development phase of the Solar Decathlon competition and submit design documents on time
  • Evaluate and explore options for providing some technology sizzle in the system design

Technical Challenges

  • Bring 20+ new Caltech students from diverse backgrounds and skill levels up to speed quickly
  • Integration of JPL and Caltech activities (people, goals, schedule, deliverables)
  • Many existing baseline designs are not very developed; need more work and re-validation
  • Some subsystems have no baseline design


  • Assign students to subsystems and teams, with linkages between teams with overlapping functionality or interfaces
  • For subsystems with existing baseline designs:
    • Revalidate the baseline design computations and verify that baseline can achieve maximum points for relevant competition(s)
    • Communicate and agree on specifications and choices with IPT and JPL teams
    • Perform model-based analysis of system performance in a form that can be used for trade-off studies
    • Document the baseline design in a manner that is compatible with design development phase deliverable
    • Evaluate technology options that can be incorporated into our design and perform cost analysis for each
  • For subsystems without existing baseline designs:
    • Analyze options design with performance, cost, electrical load, thermal load estimates
    • Establish a baseline design that can achieve maximum points for relevant competition(s), in agreement with IPT and JPL teams
    • Document the baseline design in a manner that is compatible with design development phase deliverable
  • Develop and maintain system-level cost and energy budgets and use these to verify ability to maximize points on engineering-driven competitions
    • Provide a design capable of full capability (max points)
    • Provide a design capable of 90% max points on worst case


  • Analyze, document, and cost a baseline solution
  • Schedule planning event with Caltech + JPL to help people meet each other and align goals, milestones and schedule
  • Make use of the project wikis, websites, Slack, Git, etc. as a mechanism to document and enhance team communication
  • Identify individual students who will be responsible for insuring good cross-project integration between appropriate groups
  • Develop analytical or computational models demonstrating that specifications can be met
  • Milestones
    • TBD