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Overview of the LA ACES Program. A summary of the motivation, components and expectations of this Louisiana-wide student ballooning program. Two Extremes. The Aerospace engineer / scientist Expert in practical skills Familiar with team work Write numerous proposals, reports, documents

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Overview of the la aces program l.jpg

Overview of the LA ACES Program

A summary of the motivation, components and expectations of this Louisiana-wide student ballooning program

LA ACES Overview


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Two Extremes

  • The Aerospace engineer / scientist

    • Expert in practical skills

    • Familiar with team work

    • Write numerous proposals, reports, documents

    • Daily management of people, money and time

  • The entering undergraduate student

    • Few practical skills

      • No “Heathkits”, or High School auto or wood shops

    • Many have problems with writing and presentations

      • Grammar, spelling, organization, argument presentation

    • Somewhat computer “literate” (web capable)

      • Little programming, CAD or data analysis experience

LA ACES Overview


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How do we go from one to the other?

  • Need to provide “hands-on” practical experience

  • Need to integrate classroom “theory” with real applications

  • Need to improve communication skills

  • Need knowledge about and experience with, team work, organization, and project management

  • Some Engineering Departments address such issues

    • “Capstone” or Design courses in last year

  • Most Science Departments have no organized method for handling this situation

    • Students pickup whatever they can along the way

LA ACES Overview


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The ACES Project (2002-2003)

  • Goals included the following

    • Attract new students to aerospace related programs

    • Provide background on how to develop programs

    • Practical experience with sensors, electronics & systems

    • Retain students in science by exciting their imagination

  • Implemented pilot version with LaSPACE Workforce funding during 2002-2003 academic year

    • Test bed program concepts

    • Use LSU expertise in scientific ballooning

    • Build upon “Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly” program

      • http://ssp.arizona.edu/sgsatellites/programs.shtml

LA ACES Overview


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The ACES Basic Concept

  • Use a latex sounding balloon as the vehicle

    • Up to 12 lbs payload without FAA waiver

    • Altitude up to ~100,000 feet

  • Trained students to use knowledge about the project life cycle and project management

  • Guide students to “think the problem through”.

  • Students were exposed to skills not normally available in conventional classrooms.

LA ACES Overview


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ACES Structure

  • Involved students from LSU and SU

    • About 15 students organized in teams of 3-4

    • Students committed to 4 hours / week (took attendance)

    • Paid student wage for up to 10 hours / week

  • Weekly contact Tuesday & Thursday evening

    • One or two 1 hr lectures and 3+ hrs of activities

    • Talks on electronics, programming, payload design, project management & life cycle, technical aspects of high powered model rocket, radio telemetry & communication

    • Activities include CricketSat, CanSat and BalloonSat

  • Launch trip to NSBF (May 2003) resulted in the successful flight of three student built payloads

LA ACES Overview


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ACES Evolved into LA ACES

  • The “lessons learned” from the pilot ACES program are incorporated into the current LA ACES program

    • Involve student teams from institutions across state

    • Formalize the training aspect of the program with a series of lectures and hands-on activities (Student Ballooning Course)

    • Balloon support activities centered at LSU-BR

  • NASA approved LA ACES funding 2/2004

  • Student Ballooning Course developed during Spring & Summer 2004

  • Activities at UNO, LaTech, ULL, SU-BR & LSU-BR began fall 2004 & payloads were launched May 2004

  • Begin 2005-06 session with LSU, SU, LaTech & McNeese

LA ACES Overview


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Fall semester builds basic skills

  • Proceed through the Student Balloon Course (SBC) lectures and activities

  • Develop circuit building skills

  • Learn about microprocessor programming

  • Understand how to use sensors

  • Develop knowledge of project management techniques

  • Understand the ballooning environment, payload constraints and design

  • Exposure to various science topics appropriate for balloon payloads

LA ACES Overview


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Motivation for the SBC

  • There has been little development of classroom materials to support the student built aerospace payload program.

  • No materials for an integrated course

    • Need to cover diverse topics

    • Need to complete in academic year

  • Focus on younger undergraduates

    • Work with ~2nd year students

  • Available “CanSat” electronics needed improvements

  • Provide basis for an advanced program

Launch of the ACES-01 vehicle during May, 2003

LA ACES Overview


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SBC Contents

  • A course syllabus

    • Provides a summary of the Student Ballooning Course

    • Can be modified to fit institution needs

  • Lectures

    • 33 PowerPoint presentations covering the primary topics relevant to the program

  • Activities

    • 30 descriptions of hand-on activities that complement the lectures and build skills relevant to payload development

  • List of materials necessary for the activities

  • A hardware kit with the PCBs, microcomputer and other core components required to support the activities

  • Evaluation forms

    • Feedback from both students and instructors is important

LA ACES Overview


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The SBC Units

The lectures and activities are divided into five major units

  • Electronics – Basic knowledge about circuits, sensor interfacing & data acquisition

  • Programming – How to control the BASIC Stamp, read & store data, interfacing to devices

  • Project Management – How to plan, manage and track the progress of a project

  • Balloon Payload Design – Facts and skills relevant to the successful development of a payload

  • Science – Collection of a few presentations on science topics relevant to balloon payloads

LA ACES Overview


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Spring semester is focused on payload

  • Apply skills learned in the fall to develop a small balloon payload

  • Proceed through a project life cycle and apply project manage-ment techniques

  • Written documents & presentation required for Preliminary Design Review (PDR), Critical Design Review (CDR) & Flight Readiness Review (FRR)

Groups fabricating payloads

Programming the controller

LA ACES Overview


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DESIGN

PDR

DEVELOPMENT

CDR

FABRICATION

INTEGRATION

FRR

TESTING

The Project Phases

  • All projects complete roughly the same phases from inception to completion

OPERATION

LA ACES Overview


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The National Scientific Balloon Facility will host the LA ACES launch.

  • Launch anticipated for May, 2005

  • Must successfully complete FRR prior to flight

  • Operations will be similar to the ACES flight in May 03

Students preparing for their FRR

ACES-01 was assembled and tested in this NSBF hanger

LA ACES Overview


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ACES-01 Launch Preparation ACES launch.

  • Payloads in final configuration and checkout all flight systems.

LA ACES Overview


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ACES-01 Launch Day ACES launch.

  • Payload string consisted of several radio beacons

    • Location “chirper” at top

    • Primary GPS radio next

    • Secondary GPS at bottom

  • Three student payloads

    • TIC, StuMURD, FRED

  • A 60” Skyangle parachute

  • Radar reflector at bottom

  • Total Weight was 11.8 pounds.

LA ACES Overview


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Payloads were set for flight ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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The Balloon was inflated ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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And we had launch! ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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Then the Chase began ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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An easy recovery --- this time ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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Initial results followed the flight ACES launch.

LA ACES Overview


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Conclusions ACES launch.

  • LA ACES builds upon the previous ACES experience

  • The new Student Ballooning Course provides a formal structure that will enhance the skill learning process

  • During payload development the student teams will follow a typical project life-cycle and will need to pass three reviews

  • Flight operations will take place at NSBF in Palestine, TX during May 2006

  • Communication and feedback is important

    • Evaluation forms are included in the SBC

    • Sign-up for and use the LA ACES Yahoo discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/la-aces/

LA ACES Overview


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