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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

Overview of the LA ACES Program

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

LA ACES Overview

two extremes
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

how do we go from one to the other
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

the aces project 2002 2003
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

the aces basic concept
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

aces structure
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

aces evolved into la aces
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

fall semester builds basic skills
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

motivation for the sbc
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

sbc contents
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

the sbc units
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

spring semester is focused on payload
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

the project phases









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


LA ACES Overview

the national scientific balloon facility will host the la aces launch
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

aces 01 launch preparation
ACES-01 Launch Preparation
  • Payloads in final configuration and checkout all flight systems.

LA ACES Overview

aces 01 launch day
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

the balloon was inflated
The Balloon was inflated

LA ACES Overview

and we had launch
And we had launch!

LA ACES Overview

then the chase began
Then the Chase began

LA ACES Overview

  • 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