Five years running, AE Team is AIAA Space Design champ
This year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation challenged Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design competitors to design a re-usable orbital transfer vehicle. The craft had to be capable of delivering 50,000 lbs. of payload from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Earth-Moon Lagrange (EML) points 1 and/or 2. EML are locations in space between the Earth and Moon where gravitational effects of both bodies act on an object equally, creating a stable equilibrium point for orbit.
WayPoint, AE’s winning team, came up with Hermes, an axisymmetric modular design with five propulsion modules, a main bus unit, solar panels and an antenna. The five modules were to be made of a propellant tank and Vinci Engine.
“The five-engine design promotes reliability of the vehicle, and all systems boast redundant components,” according to Kevin Kim, the team’s Lead Systems Engineer. “Solar panels harvest enough energy from the Sun to power the vehicle during shaded flight. Hermes is capable of transporting both to EML1 and 2, with increased capacity than the required 50,000 lbs. to EML1.”
Faculty advisor for this year’s champion was, again, AE Adjunct Prof. David Carroll. “The tradition of success of the Illinois teams can be largely attributed to my predecessor instructors who created a superb course structure to follow, and the teaching assistants who interact so diligently with the students every year,” Carroll said. “And, of course, the students themselves earn the awards because they pour their heart and soul into creating their designs while incorporating our critiques (sometimes brutal with lots of red ink!) throughout the two-semester course.”
- David Brandyberry, Attitude Determination and Controls System Engineer
- Jake Dluhy, Power and Thermal Systems Engineer
- Peter Grega, Orbital System Engineer
- David Knourek, Propulsion System Engineer
- Matt Kosky, Structures System Engineer
- Evan White, Launch and Docking Systems Engineer
- Meghana Veeramachaneni, freshman assistant.