This morning at 8:00 AM, the CRW team presented their Preliminary Design Review to the NASA representatives via video conference.
Prior to the presentation to NASA, the 8 members that presented practiced in front of the rest of the team to receive feedback and ensure they stayed within the time limit.
During the presentation, the team performed very well in explaining the design of the various aspects of their rocket and rover (which constitutes as the payload for the selected challenge).
After the presentation, the team opened the floor to NASA to ask any questions pertaining to their designs. The NASA representatives said the team presented a lot of information, which was a good thing because their potential questions were answered during the presentation itself. They were especially impressed with the design of the rover because it is “cool and unique”. Comments were also made on the foldability of the solar panels. The design was not what was originally envisioned in the observer’s eyes, but the protective cover was interesting it would be useful if the rover were to travel to another planet.
NASA was also impressed with the safety procedures that Bao Ha, the Safety Officer, had drafted. NASA said the team had a good baseline for failure modes and are excited to see further failure mode analysis. The representatives also said that while the extra analysis that is going to be preformed may be hard work, it’s the best option and will be beneficial for the team in the long run.
Each week, Charger Rocket Works will be highlighting one member of our team on Tuesday. Get to know each member of the team over the course of the competition!
Stephen is a mechanical engineer originally from Birmingham, AL. His interest in engineering stems from his four years of high school robotics, where he led the team his senior year. Stephen began as an aerospace engineer at UAH, and joined the rocket design team to pursue his interest in rocketry. On the CRW team, Stephen is responsible for the rover wheel design and rover software. He has already been offered a position by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, where he has previously worked as a co-op student. His long term goal is to be an R&D engineer.
When he isn’t working on the rover, Stephen enjoys reading Tom Clancy novels and watching Dr. Who. He also enjoys Marvel movies (Thor: Ragnorok is his current favorite), skateboarding, and playing the guitar.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s AIAA section has been working with a local elementary-middle school, Holy Family School, to show the students about STEM fields. They meet with the students about once a quarter to cover information they learned in their science class and prepare for the next section.
This month the AIAA section prepared something different for the students in grades 2 through 4. They decided to cover what different engineers do and provide them with a hands-on experience for each engineering field. Living in Rocket City (Huntsville, Alabama’s coined nickname), many children have parents as engineers so they know of engineering, but they may not always know what each different engineering does.
The four engineering fields that were covered during this session were Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.
When the students were learning about Mechanical Engineering, they were asked what they thought Mechanical Engineers did. The idea is that they would list examples of things that move, like cars and trains, but then we would also tell them that Mechanical Engineers also work on refrigerators or air conditioning. The students then had to work in a team of two or three to build a car made of Lego pieces.
After constructing their car, the groups were able to choose their set of wheels and race down a track. After the race, the students were asked about why maybe one car went faster or further than another. The idea was that a heavier car might make it down the ramp faster but may not go as far, but a lighter car may take a second longer to make it down, but might go further.
As the students were learning about Aerospace Engineering, they were asked what they thought those engineers did. The students listed things such as spaceships and satellites, but then we would also mention airplanes if the students didn’t list it. The students then built their own paper airplanes. They did two runs; the first consisted of them constructing their own plane and the second they were able to follow a diagram. After each construction, the students went out into the hallway and had a friendly competition of whose plane could go further.
They did two runs; the first consisted of them constructing their own plane and the second they were able to follow a diagram. After each construction, the students went out into the hallway and had a friendly competition of whose plane could go further. Sometimes the planes ended up on the runway (the floor), but every once in a while they would get lost in the clouds (the ceiling).
When asked what do Electrical Engineers do, the answers ranged from lights and power to radios and televisions. The students were then able to work with an electric wire maze. Typically these are constructed with a buzzer to indicate when the wire has been touched, but in this case an LED would light up.
As the students were trying to complete the maze successfully, they learned briefly about how circuits work and why the LED lights up when the wires touch.
Last, the students learned about Chemical Engineering. When they were asked what Chemical Engineers do, they answered with work with chemicals. It was then explained that while working with chemicals, the engineers help to make sure that the things we put in our bodies are not going to harm us. The students were than able to observe dry ice bubbles being made. This was done through putting a small piece of dry ice in water, then the smoke went through a tube connected to a funnel. The funnel was then dipped into a plate of soap.
The students were not allows to touch the dry ice or the mixture, but they were allowed to pop the bubble. The students also were able to see how big the bubble could get before it popped on its own.
The students loved the hands-on part of the learning because it they got to have a basic idea of what it would be like to possibly be one of these engineers. The CRW team wants to give a big thank you to the UAH AIAA section for letting us participate in this awesome program they put together!
This year’s Charger Rocket Works team is using a 3-D printer to print some of their rocket components. The printer is a uPrint Plus that prints ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene), which is a thermoplastic polymer.
The team will be printing the nose cone, transition, avionics sled, and fin can.
This print requires about 14 cubic inches of ABS material and the total print time will take about 33 hours.