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Overview of the LA ACES Program

Overview of the LA ACES Program

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Overview of the LA ACES Program

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  1. Overview of the LA ACES Program A summary of the motivation, components and expectations of this Louisiana-wide student ballooning program LA ACES Overview

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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 • LA ACES Overview

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. ACES-01 Launch Preparation • Payloads in final configuration and checkout all flight systems. LA ACES Overview

  16. ACES-01 Launch Day • 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

  17. Payloads were set for flight LA ACES Overview

  18. The Balloon was inflated LA ACES Overview

  19. And we had launch! LA ACES Overview

  20. Then the Chase began LA ACES Overview

  21. An easy recovery --- this time LA ACES Overview

  22. Initial results followed the flight LA ACES Overview

  23. Conclusions • 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 LA ACES Overview