Graduate Projects

Graduate Projects I and II (ASEN 5018/6028) is a two-semester course sequence designed to expose MS and PhD students to Project Management and Systems Engineering disciplines while working a complex aerospace engineering project as part of a project team.   The project team of from 7 to 20 students may perform some or all of the following project activities during the two-semester course sequence:  

  • requirements definition
  • design and design review
  • build
  • test
  • verification.  

A lecture common to all lab sections will introduce students to project management, systems engineering and entrepreneurship as well as technology transfer and intellectual property issues.

For ASEN 5018, it is strongly recommended that students interested in a particular graduate project section enroll early in the open enrollment period. If a graduate project section is full, students are encouraged to choose another project. They may also place themselves on the waitlist; however, until all graduate projects sections have been adequately enrolled, waitlisted students are not guaranteed a spot in the course.

Graduate Projects is a suitable option for degree AES MS students who choose to complete two semesters of work on an aerospace engineering project rather than write a thesis or complete certificate required coursework to satisfy graduation requirements, and for PhD students who value this type of project experience to meet their coursework requirements.  The course is also open to students in other engineering departments with the approval of the project professor.

Students completing this course series will be better prepared for the type of project management processes and team dynamics they will encounter in government and industry. The knowledge and skills gained by the students as a result of taking this course will make them more competitive and effective in today's job market.

Graduate Projects Summary for Fall 2016

Powerpoint Presentation

Section 011 – Bioastronautics Human Spaceflight project  - Jim Voss.  This project will begin design on the Long Duration Spaceflight Habitat for astronaut crews to live in while transiting between Earth orbit and an exploration destination within our solar system.  The team will conduct a survey of existing life support systems that will enable safe and comfortable travel through space for months to years in duration. They will develop life support and crew accommodations requirements for the habitat, complete the preliminary design of human interfaces and accommodations, and prepare a preliminary layout of crew-required systems within an existing cargo spacecraft shell.  Additional or future work will involve completion of a mock up of the interior of the habitat, and work on location and fit of systems and crew accommodations.  The mock up will be used for form and fit evaluations and human factors testing.  The project students will function as a team in support of a real-world design and development program, working closely with the Bioastronautics faculty team working on the habitat design, and industry partner Orbital ATK for the habitat design, and NASA.   Lab sessions are Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 to 10:50 in ECAE 104.

Section 012 - CubeSat – Dr. Scott Palo.  There will be two cubesat projects being developed simultaneously this semester.  The first is the CU Earth Escape Explorer (CU-E3) that is part of the NASA Deep Space Challenge to build a cubesat to launch on the Lockheed Martin Space Launch System.  The second is a cubesat, called MAXWELL, with a novel RF communications payload.  Three cubesats have previously been developed in this course.  One operated on orbit for 28 months, the second was launched to the International Space Station in late 2015 and will deploy in spring 2016 and the third will launch in 2017.  Our goal is a two year design-develop-build-test phase.  Both the CU-E3 and MAXWELL will be nearing a critical design review phase in fall 2016.  The cubesat project is great for those who want to learn about small satellite development and have an experience designing, building and testing hardware that will fly in space.  The Lab sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:50 in ECAE 1B16.

Section 013 - AMARCS – Lakshmi Kantha.  The Additive Manufactured Aerospike Reaction Control System (AMARCS) is a regeneratively cooled, liquid fuel, aerospike rocket engine designed for attitude and reaction control of satellites. What makes AMARCS unique is the use of additive manufacturing (3D printing) to manufacture the aerospike nozzle with the fuel passages printed internally into the nozzle for regenerative cooling.  Similarly, the complex injector design will also benefit from additive manufacturing. The overall objective of the AMARCS project is to prove that additive manufacturing can be used to manufacture flight ready parts of a rocket engine, with designs that would be difficult or impossible to manufacture by conventional deductive machining methods,  while decreasing production cost and  time, and increasing performance.  The project is to demonstrate that, with appropriate post-printing heat treatment and finishing techniques, an additively manufactured Nickel alloy engine is able to operate as designed under the harsh high pressure, high temperature environment of a rocket engine. This assessment will be done through a hot fire test on a purpose-built test stand using LNG as fuel and GOX as the oxidizer. The project is sponsored by ULA and is ITAR restricted. Lab sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:50 in ECAE 104.

Section 015 - X-Hab -  Design Study of Regenerable CO2 Removal Beds using Ionic Liquids – Dr. Nabity.  The state of the art CO2 removal system onboard the International Space Station has capability and reliability issues that will be problematic for long duration space exploration. Therefore, NASA desires alternative sorbents and technologies for CO2 capture. In this project, students will consult with industry and academic experts to design, develop, experimentally study, and iterate on microgravity-capable CO2 removal beds using ionic liquids with pressure/thermal-swing adsorption/desorption processes for solvent regeneration. The multiple bed designs will incorporate capillary force-driven fluid refresh and supported liquid membranes for gas-liquid contact. This project will have emphases on gas-liquid contact, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, chemistry, and gas analysis. Grad projects students will collaborate with NASA-funded PhD students and will be contributing to cutting-edge research, developing vital technology for human space exploration.  The lab sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 to 4:50 in ECAE 104.

Section 017 – FlyNet– Dr. Eric Frew.  The goal of this project is to design and deploy a system of cooperating multi-rotor aerial robots. The robots will be designed to serve a variety of missions that could include the ability to search for and track targets of interest and tag them for capture.  The project will emphasize the creation and field-testing of an autonomy architecture that includes perception, planning, and control with application to indoor search and rescue / capture the flag missions.  Experience with programming and embedded systems is desired, but not required.  The lab sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 to 1:50 in the Fleming RECUV lab.

Section 018 – TASCER - Dr. Brian Argrow.  The Task Allocation Simulation for Controlled Emergency Response (TASCER) capabilities currently include environment evolution, civilian and emergency response worker dynamics, target tracking and state estimation, platform dynamics, and centralized task allocation and search algorithms. Goals include the design and integration of decentralized task allocation, cooperative target detection, an advanced communications network, and demonstration of software capability with hardware in the loop drone simulations. The lab sessions are Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 – 3:50 in ECAE 104.

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