Rockets and Robotics Club
Description: The RORV was named after Poseidon, in Greek mythology Poseidon provided for
calm seas. Our RORV will preserve the tranquility by looking after damaged submarines.
Project Joshua Ferroni (Mechanical Engineering)
Management Jose Quezada (Mechanical Engineering)
Robotic Luciano Ceritos (Mechatronics) – (Task Manager)
Manipulation Nour Daas (Mechanical Engineering)
(Tooling) Adan Ochoa( Mechanical Engineering)
Control Systems Justin Jordan (Electrical Engineering) – (Task Manager)
Jose Flores (Computer Science)
Christopher Flores (Mechatronics)
Structure Ignacio Maravilla (Astrophysics) – (Task Manager)
& Juan Ledesma (Civil Engineering)
Dynamics Rodrigo Sanchez (Mechanical Engineering)
Dr. Pimol Moth
Advisors/ Mentors Andy Newton
Dr. Jesse Cude
1. Introduction 3
1.1 Abstract 3
1.2 Submarine Rescue System Research 3
1.3 Team Work 5
2. Robotic Manipulation #
2.1 Design Rationale 5
2.2 Payload Description 5
2.3 Robotic Manipulation Expense Sheet 7
2.4 Challenges 8
2.5 Lessons Learned 8
2.6 Future Improvement 8
3. Control Systems 8
3.1 Design Rationale 8
3.2 Electrical Schematic 10
3.3 Control Systems Expense Sheet 14
3.4 Trouble Shooting Technique 15
3.5 Challenges 16
3.6 Lessons Learned 16
3.7 Future Improvement 16
4. Structure & Dynamics 16
4.1 Design Rationale 16
4.2 Mechanical Drawing 17
4.3 Structure & Dynamics Expense Sheet 18
4.5 Challenges 19
4.6 Future Improvement 19
Rockets and Robotics Club Reflections 19
The goal is to integrate different disciplines into a remotely operated rescue vehicle
(RORV) for the 2009 international MATE competition. By constructing a professional
atmosphere inductive of creativity and constructive criticism the Hartnell Rockets and
Robotics club designed and built a capable rescue vehicle that is intended to perform all
mission duties within 15 minutes that is cost efficient. The RORV was broken in to 3 key
parts. The first part was to design appropriate tooling that allowed the driver to open and
close levers, doors, and manholes. The second part was to provide the control systems for
the tooling and allow the driver for better control. Lastly, we developed a frame made out of
aluminum for longer durability that is highly maneuverable and at the same time houses the
tooling and electronics. Throughout the process we gained valuable experience for the
competition and as a team.
1.2 Submarine Rescue System Research
Submarine Rescue Systems consist of the use of remotely operated rescue vehicles
that provide aid to distressed submarines. There are many programs at the national level
and international level which have created Submarine Rescue Systems.
The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) is a multi-national program that
developed an international submarine rescue system. The NSRS is managed by Rolls-Royce,
a British aircraft engine maker, and began its service at the end of 2008. The NSRS plans to
replace the old UK Submarine Rescue System by mid 2009. The system is designed to
primarily provide aid to the partner nations of France, Norway, and the UK but also to NATO
and allied countries.
The NSRS program will use different remotely operated vehicles to aid submarines.
Such as, the Intervention Remotely Operated Vehicles (IROV), which is a system that
comprises the vehicle, the launch and recovery system and the control module. The vehicle
is capable of operating in depths of 1000m and is very mobile and compact. Another vehicle
is the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV), this vehicle can be seen in Fig A. This system is a
manned submersible and was develop form previous rescue vehicles, such as the LR5. The
SRV is a vehicle which is 10 meters long, weighs 27 tons and has an all steel (Q1N), single
piece hull. The craft is operated by a three man crew ( a pilot, an observer and a rescue
chamber operator). It can operate at depths up to 610m and can mate with the rescue hatch
seal. For high sea states NATO has created the Portable Launch and Recovery System (
PLARS). The PLARS comprises a combined SRV catcher and stabilization system, the system
is air transportable. Furthermore, NATO also has the Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) system,
which can be seen in Fig B, is a fully autonomous vehicle and provides full decompression
and medical support. It comprises a reception chamber, two decompression chambers and
a central control position. The TUP has a capability of carrying 150 men from 6 bars and a
capacity of 68 men plus medical personnel. All these systems are used to complete the
Submarine Rescue System successfully; a practice mission can be seen in Fig C.
Fig A -Submarine Rescue System Fig B Transfer Under Pressure System
Fig C – The NATO Submarine Rescue System vehicle underwater practice.
NATO Submarine Rescue System 2009. Web.28 Apr 2009.
"Submarine Rescue System." 2009. Web.28 Apr 2009.
1.3 Team Work
The Hartnell Rockets and Robotics Club members were divided into project
management and task groups. The project management was composed of 2 project
managers whom intended to lead the project and maintain constant progress. The project
managers wrote a project plan that included how project related decisions and even
problems should be handled. Three individual task groups were created; the first is
“Robotic Manipulation”, the second “Control Systems”, and the third “Structures and
Dynamics”. Each task group had a task manager who assumed responsibility in
accomplishing their respective task.
The Rockets and Robotics Club created a Google group with the expectation that all
members provide feedback and collaborate to the RORV development.
To ensure positive progress, Project Managers worked alongside Task Managers to
keep accountability and constant communication. Individual Task Managers teamed up with
their respective team members in an effort to keep information up to date.
In the endeavor to keep the entire Rockets and Robotics Club informed presentations
were incorporated as a part of the weekly meeting. Each Task group gave a five minute
presentation starting at 1 pm of each weekly meeting. After the five minute presentation, the
task groups had a three minute question and answer session. The presentations served the
purpose of informing the other task groups of major changes that impacted their tasks.
2. Robotic Manipulation
2.1 Designed Rational:
The equipment and tooling team dedicated many hours on the best way to
successfully complete the missions for this year’s ROV competition. The RORV equipment
consists of a robotic arm and robotic hooks that were custom made to complete the
missions. The Robotic arm serves the purpose of opening handles, doors, and placing
nozzles. The robotics hooks are designed to carry heavy objects and to open manholes.
2.2 Pay Load Description
The main tooling of the RORV is the robotic arm it consist of two main structure parts
that are illustrated in Fig D and Fig E, and four HS-985MG Hitec servos. The servos are
connected in a way that allow for three axis motion. The first part of the robotic arm is the
base. In this section of the arm two servos were placed to give the arm an up and down
motion. In the intersection of the two pieces there is a servo connecting the base and the
manipulator base. The purpose of this servo was to give a 180 degree rotation of the
manipulator base. The manipulator base was designed to grab objects and it consists of two
grippers that ride in four ¾ inch rods that are connected to a servo horn. The grippers
where not made of aluminum but acrylic this material is lighter than aluminum.
Luciano Cerritos holding the robotic manipulator.
Fig D: Robotic manipulator structure for fingers. (Dimension in cm)
Fig E : Robotic base that connects robotic manipulator to the structure of the RORV.
Material used: Aluminum, Hs-985MG Hitec servos with 180 degrees of rotation.
2.3 Robotic Manipulation Expense Sheet
Donation Vendor Description Unit Price Price
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Acrylic Plate $10.90 $21.80
NASA Grant Servo City HS -985MG Hi-Tech $72.98 $583.84
NASA Grant Servo City coupler 3/16 to ¼ $8.50 $51.00
NASA Grant Servo City HS -985MG Hi-Tech $92.98 $185.96
NASA Grant Servo City Standard Wire (Hitec) $12.99 $12.99
NASA Grant Servo City servo hub $9.99 $39.96
NASA Grant Miscelaneous $200.00 $200.00
This is the GrimRacer 67x105 optional 3-Blade
NASA Grant Tower Hobbies Metal Propeller for the AquaCraft $50.00 $200.00
Underwater Camera with Black and White
NASA Grant Harbor Freight Monitor $119.99 $119.99
The team original idea for the robotic arm was to use acrylic material. The problem of using
this material was when it came to transporting the robotic arm as it at risk of breaking. The
solution of was to use aluminum material for the fact that it was light and strong.
2.5 Lessons Learned
The Robotic manipulation task group encountered problems while testing our robotic
arm. We used heavy material to build the claw and we quickly noticed hesitation in the
servos. We want to improve our arm and make it lighter. A lighter claw is best and easier to
turn since angular acceleration is proportional to the distance squared.
2.6 Future Improvements
In the future we would like to use better motors rather than servos. We would like to
improve and use pneumatics. Pneumatics are a better choice since it is stronger than servos
and we would not have to worry about water short circuiting our motors.
3. Control Systems
3.1 Design Rational
This year’s control system was designed around two major requests made by team
members from experiences gained at last year’s event, and our club’s experience with the
Basic Stamp 2 microcontroller. The first request was made by our pilot for a more familiar
interface to the ROV, such as a game console controller. The second request made was to
have a water proof enclosure for installing the electronics needed to drive the vehicle, on
the vehicle. This second would reduce the size of the tether giving the pilot more flexibility
in maneuvering the vehicle.
The first request was addressed by integrating a Sony Playstation 2 Dual Shock
controller into the control system of the vehicle. The PS2 controller gives the pilot two
analog joysticks to drive the vehicle, along with sixteen other discrete switches to
manipulate any tooling onboard the vehicle. The PS2 controller uses a synchronous serial
protocol for communicating with the game console, or in our case the BS2 which can easily
be programmed to interface with the controller.
The second request was addressed by one of our team members who designed a
custom enclosure in AutoCad 2008. The enclosure consists of a mounting plate for the
electronics, surrounded by an acrylic tube enclosed by two aluminum end caps with an O-
ring seal on each cap. All of the motor controllers needed to drive the vehicle, along with a
secondary BS2, and a Parallax Servo Controller are housed within the enclosure.
Mechanical drawings of the enclosures end caps can be found in the appendices.
The control system of the vehicle can be broken down into four steps are illustrated
in Fig F and Fig E; the first step is to read data from the PS2 controller, step 2 is to convert
the data into the appropriate values for the motor/ servo controllers, step 3 is to send
converted data to the vehicle, and then distribute the commands to the appropriate
motor/servo controller. The first three steps will be accomplished on the surface at the
control station by the primary BS2, and the last step is completed by a secondary BS2 on the
Reading data from the PS2 controller is as simple as manually clocking data out of the
controller and storing it into six different bytes of RAM. The first two bytes identify the state
of the sixteen discrete switches on the controller, and the last four bytes determine the (x,y)
position of the left and right analog joysticks. Once the data is clocked into the BS2 it must
be converted into the appropriate values for each motor/servo control. This is done by a
series of “If Then” statements, and linear equations.
Fig F - Surface Program Flow Diagram:
Initialize Get Data
BS2 from PS2
Determine Send data
Get Data direction, and to RROV
from PS2 speed. Determine
position of servos.
Fig G - RROV Program Flow Diagram:
BS2 Yes Wait for HB-25s
No Is start
HB-25s and the
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To send the converted data to the vehicle we are using a MAX232 transceiver (refer
to Fig J) to change the TTL level signals from the primary BS2 to RS-232 level signals. This
ensures the data sent will not be lost due to voltage drop during the transmission. On the
vehicle another MAX232 is used to receive the data and convert it back to TTL level signals
sent to the secondary BS2. (Refer to Fig H, Fig I and Fig J) Flow control between the two BS2s
is made easy by assigning a pin to that function. The receiving BS2 controls the flow control
pin and drives it high to indicate a stop condition. When the receiving BS2 is ready to
receive transmissions again it will allow the pin to be pulled low through a 10K ohm resistor
allowing the sender to continue transmissions. Once all of the data has been received by the
secondary BS2 it will distribute the appropriate commands to the motor/servo controllers.
Power for the vehicle is handled by two DC-DC converters. One is a 48 VDC to 12
VDC converter for primary power, and the other is a 48 VDC to 5 VDC converter for the
servos on board the vehicle. The larger converter has a maximum output of 414 Watts for up
to 5 min, and a maximum output of 345 Watts for up to four hours, with a continuous output of
276 Watts. The smaller converter can supply a continuous output of 75 Watts. Both
converters are commercially sold through www.powerstream.com.
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3.2 Electrical Schematic
The Electrical Schematics are illustrated in Fig A, Fig B, Fig C and Fig D.
Fig H. Illustrates the Power surface functional schematic.
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Fig I. Illustrates how the electrical system functions
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Fig J. Illustrates the surface PCB.
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Fig K. Illustrates the vehicle PCB
3.3 Control Systems Expense Sheet
Donation Vendor Description Price Price
Clear Cast Acrylic Tube 6" OD x 5-3/4" ID, 3'
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Length $83.46 $83.46
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 8" x 8" x 2" Multipurpose Al (alloy 6061) $92.56 $185.12
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EPDM O-Ring AS568A Dash Number 432, Packs
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr of 7 $11.40 $11.40
EPDM O-Ring AS568A Dash Number 256, Packs
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr of 9 $9.29 $9.29
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Fully Threaded Rod (Al 36") $12.28 $49.12
Grade F Hex Nylon-Insert Flange Locknut Znc-Pltd
Steel, 3/8"-16 Screw Size, 9/16" W,
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 7/16" H Packs of 50 $7.28 $7.28
Nickel-Plated Brass Liquid-Tight Cord Grip
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Straight, 1/2" NPT Trade Sz, 0.20"-0.35" Cord Dia. $8.42 $42.10
Nickel-Plated Brass Liquid-Tight Cord Grip
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Straight, 1/2" NPT Trade Sz, 0.24"-0.47" Cord Dia. $8.42 $42.10
NPT Threaded Aluminum Hole Plug 1/2" Thread
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Size, 3/4" Head Diameter $2.02 $10.10
NASA Grant Parallax Basic Stamp 2p 40-Pin Module $89.00 $178.00
NASA Grant Parallax HB-25 Motor Controller $49.99 $299.94
NASA Grant Parallax Parallax Servo Controller (Serial) $39.99 $79.98
NASA Grant Power Stream 48 VDC to 12 VDC converter $295.00 $295.00
complete 5V DC/DC converter module mounted on
NASA Grant Power Stream circuit board $89.50 $89.50
NASA Grant River Marine Rule Bilge Pump 1,500 G.P.H. $54.95 $219.80
Flexible Cable 5A 20 AWG 9 Conductor
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Shielded $4.49 $224.50
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Flexible Cable 40A 10 AWG 4 Conductor $12.95 $647.50
NASA Grant Miscellaneous components $200.00 $200.00
3.4 Troubleshooting Techniques
Typical troubleshooting techniques and instrumentation was used in debugging the
control system. Equipment such as an oscilloscope was used in checking signals between
the BS2, and the motor controllers. A digital voltmeter was used to check voltages to
different subsystems of the vehicle. The debug window in the Basic Stamp IDE was used to
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monitor registers in RAM during operation to ensure the appropriate values were being
One of the largest challenges faced by our team this year was the new rule for the
explorer class of being supplied with only 48 VDC. Our team does not have the experience
of building DC-DC converters that can supply the power we needed, nor do we have the
technical advisory to accomplish this task in the time frame given. Our only options where
to upgrade our electronics to a 48 volt system or to buy pre built converters that came at a
substantial cost. We chose the latter since we already had some of our electronics on hand.
Pursuing the experience of building such units ourselves would be a valuable skill gained.
Acquiring the converters necessary for this year’s vehicle wasn’t the only power
issue we had. Finding four car batteries to use for practice runs was also an issue. Luckily
Jeremy Hertzberg from Monterey Peninsula College was able to lend us some batteries to
test our vehicle. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge him, and thank him
for his help.
3.5 Lessons Learned
During one of our pool practices we blew a fuse in our RORV electronics enclosure.
To open the enclosure requires at least 2 days. When the enclosure is put together again we
must wait at least a day so that silicone dries. Therefore, what we did is we put the fuses
outside the enclosure and wrapped them with liquid tape so that if they do pop we do not
have to open the enclosure.
3.6 Future Improvements
Improvements that can be made for next year’s vehicle include but are not limited to:
Reducing the size of the end caps for the electronics enclosure.
Improvements in the design of our custom PCBs such as; board mounted connectors,
better use of space, and to be universal for repeated use.
Upgrading to the Propeller chip as the main processor for our vehicle.
We would also like to pursue the knowledge of building our own high current power
supplies, and DC-DC converters.
4. Structure & Dynamics
4.1 Design Rational
The structure was designed around the necessities for the MATE 2009 RORV
competition. The biggest concern was the maneuverability of the vehicle, so the best option
was a cylindrical or close to body to reduce inertial mass. The closest and much simpler
shape to opt with was the octagon as illustrated in Fig L.
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The reasoning for the octagon was not just much easier to manufacture, but it also
allowed easier mounting of other limbs such as cameras, motors, and the claw. The purpose
for the wings on the vehicle is to carry the motors which propel the RORV forward and up.
The motors farther out from the center of mass of the RORV give more torque. More torque
means that we can easily move left and right. The motors on the wings also gave the vehicle
more stability when the arm is in use.
Fig L Demonstrates the unique shape of the RORV frame.
4.2 Mechanical Drawing -
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4.3 Structure and Dynamics Expense Sheet
Donation Vendor Description Price Price
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) Tube 1-1/4"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr OD, 1.084" ID, .083" Wall Thickness, 1' L $13.28 $13.28
Architectural Anodized Aluminum (Alloy 6063)
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Tube, .065" Wall Thk, 1" OD, .870" ID, 6' L $13.92 $13.92
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) 1/4" Thick,
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 12" X 12" $19.00 $38.00
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) 1/8" Thick X
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 1" Width X 6' Length $7.45 $44.70
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Corrosion-Resistant Turntable Aluminium, 4" Square $12.13 $24.26
Architectural Aluminum (Alloy 6063) 90 Deg Angle,
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 1/8" Thk, 1-1/2" X 1" Legs, 8' L $19.39 $19.39
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) 7/16"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Diameter X 6' Length $13.51 $13.51
Alloy 1100 Aluminum Wire .125" Diameter, 1/4-lb
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Spool, 16' Spool $9.25 $9.25
Quick-Install Wire Rope Clamp for 1/8" Rope
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Diameter $2.18 $9.25
Aluminum Alloy 6061-T6 Fully Threaded Stud 1/4"-
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 20 Thread, 3/4" Length 50 $13.80 $13.80
Aluminum Wing Nut 1/4"-20 Thread Size, 1-3/32"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Wing Spread 25 $13.74 $27.48
Stamped-Steel Mounted Ball Bearing--ABEC-1 2-
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Bolt Base Mount, for 1/2" Shaft Diameter $10.95 $43.80
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) 1/4" Diameter
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr X 6' Length $6.45 $6.45
Blind Rivet Flat Washer Aluminum, Round, for 1/4"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Rivet Body Dia, 1/2" OD 100 $7.44 $7.44
Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) W/ Cert 1/8"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Thick, 6" Wide, 6' Length $49.77 $49.77
Aluminum Wing Nut 10-24 Thread Size, 55/64"
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Wing Spread $9.24 $9.24
Aluminum Round Head Slotted Machine Screw 10-
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 24 Thread, 1-1/2" Length, 2024T4 Alloy $6.74 $6.74
Clamping U-Bolt Type 304 SS, 3/8"-16 Thread, for
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr 3" Outside Dia $8.75 $105.00
NASA Grant distributors Flotation Foam $37.12 $37.12
NASA Grant Mc-Master-Carr Al rope clamps $2.18 $52.32
NASA Grant Miscellaneous $100.00 $37.12
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The largest challenge faced was the manufacturing of the vehicle, that is, assembly.
The reason for this was the fact that assembly at the metal shop required instructor
supervision and he was not always able to allow for use of his welding tools. Other
challenges include but were not limited to, lack of communication, using anodized
aluminum (which doesn’t work when welding, it burns), and lack of a budget for
improvisation or improvement, and finally making the RORV neutrally buoyant.
The fabrication was a very difficult task because no one in the team had ever welded
aluminum. Aluminum welding is different because of the level of cleanliness it must achieve
to be welded. Aluminum creates a layer of aluminum oxide fairly quickly. The problem with
aluminum oxide is that it melts at three times the temperature of aluminum; consequently
creating a water balloon type of an effect. The outer coat of aluminum oxide acts as the
rubber holding the water (clean aluminum), and once the aluminum oxide melts the clean
aluminum under it is already liquefied and just bursts out instead of having a more
The way we overcame this challenge was by sanding the aluminum pieces right
before welding them and then using brake cleaner to collect all of the filings and then wipe
it down with a cloth or stainless steel brush. For the anodized aluminum we just sanded of
the thin protective layer of anodized material, and then prepared.
4.6 Future Improvements
Improvement An improvement that can be made for next year is to have lighter
motors. The motors that we currently have as propellers are very heavy but do produce a
great amount of propulsion. These motors require us to use more ballast and the ballast just
makes it less water dynamic. With lighter motors would have less propulsion but would
actually move quicker since F = ma. Therefore reducing our mass would give us a better
acceleration than our present motors.
Rockets and Robotics Club Reflections
As a club we learned a lot from this experience. We found that we have to keep a positive
attitude and look forward. There was times were we as a club felt that we would not meet our
deadlines. We found that if we persisted and forgot about the past we would accomplish
things quicker. We all learned that being able to deal with one another is sometimes very
hard since we all have different personalities and we all work at different paces. Overall the
team enjoyed the preparation for the competition even when we faced hard times.
We are all excited to attend Boston and we are looking forward to seeing the RORV’s that the
schools engineered. We hope everyone there has a good time, just we will!
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The Hartnell Rockets and Robotics club would like to acknowledge all those who
made possible our participation in the MATE 2009 competition. We want to thank Dr. Pimol
Moth for her patience in advising the team and for her endeavor in helping raise enough
money. We also want to thank Tito Polo who provided much aid in ordering parts and
ensuring that we had a pool to practice in. We have furthermore to thank Shannon McCann,
Andy Newton, and Dr. Cude for their support and further assisting us with cash
We are deeply indebted to Ali Amercupan for providing a space to build and weld.
We also appreciate the time that (Justins Pal)from the Naval Postgraduate school provided to
teach the control systems how to CNC the enclosure caps.
We would also like to thank the NASA Grant, and NSF for providing money for our
project and also Jeremy Hertzberg’s help in lending us 4 batteries. We also appreciate
Interstate Batteries for providing us with four 12 volt batteries that allowed us to simulate the
provided 48 volts. Lastly, we would like to thank MATE for providing us with a fun
competition and aiding us with travel assistance.