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

Course schedule

Week Date Topic Reading/Activities Homework
27 Sep (M) Organizational meeting
  • Reed: Solar Decathlon overview [15 min]
  • Fei: Baseline overview [15 min]
  • Richard: CS/EE/ME 75 organization [20 min]
  • Q&A [5 min]
  • Submit signup and scheduling sheet by Wed @ noon to box outside 109 Steele
  • Read SD rules and baseline design descriptions (see HW #1)
  • Team assignments (required for HW #1) will be available by Thursday (30 Sep)
HW #1
  • SD competition rules
  • Subsystem baseline description
  • Wiki user page creation
4 Oct (M) Project schedule
  • Overall SD schedule [Reed]
  • SCI-Arc/Caltech master schedule for fall [Reed]
  • GOTChA charts [Richard]
  • Milestone "party" (9 Oct?)

Team meetings start. Joint scheduling event with Sci-Arc on 9 Oct (?)

HW #2: Team schedules, subsystem GOTChAs
11 Oct (M)* System specifications
  • Baseline specifications [Fei]
  • Documentation format [Reed]
HW #3: Project specifications
18 Oct (M) System modeling HW #4: Baseline model and analysis
25 Oct (M)* Design review process Design reviews (midterms)
1 Nov (M) Team presentation
8 Nov (M)* Team presentation
15 Nov (M)* Team presentation Design review
22 Nov (M) Project review Building information model, design drawings and project manual due
29 Nov (M) Lessons learned and plans for second term Project documentation due (end of finals)