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AeroAstro At MIT & Wind Tunnel Demonstration. Chelsea He, Sameera Ponda , Sunny Wicks Women’s Graduate Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics (WGA 3 ) Massachusetts Institute of Technology July 17, 2012. Overview. Intro to AeroAstro at MIT Topics in AeroAstro

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aeroastro at mit wind tunnel demonstration

AeroAstro At MIT & Wind Tunnel Demonstration

Chelsea He, SameeraPonda, Sunny Wicks

Women’s Graduate Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics (WGA3)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

July 17, 2012

  • Intro to AeroAstro at MIT
  • Topics in AeroAstro
  • Life Around the Department
  • How We Got Involved
  • Wind Tunnel Demonstration
a brief history of aeroastro
A Brief History of AeroAstro

1959: Aeronautical Engineering becomes Aeronautics and Astronautics

1896: Aeronautical engineering begins: Albert Wells builds MIT’s first wind tunnel

1914: MIT establishes the first formal course in Aeronautical Engineering in the U.S.. Hunsaker and Douglas construct MIT’s first Cambridge facility, a wind tunnel, on Vassar Street.

1926: Course XVI created.

1929: Jimmy Doolittle proves feasibility of instrument-guided flight.

1932: Isabel Ebelis the first woman to receive an SB in aero engineering.

  • 1938: Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel dedicated. Orville Wright attends.

1953: Doc Draper flies from Mass. to LA in 1st long-distance inertially-navigated flight.

a brief history of aeroastro1
A Brief History of AeroAstro

1961: NASA selects Instrumentation Lab for Apollo guidance, control, and computer systems. Alum-professor Bob Seamans is NASA deputy administrator. Eight years later, alum Buzz Aldrin is 2nd man to walk on the moon.

1964: Sheila Widnall joins AeroAstro faculty as MIT’s first woman professor of engineering.

1988: Daedalus, an AeroAstro student-led project, captures world records for human-powered aircraft.

2000: AeroAstro-US Air Force Middeck Active Control Experiment is the first Space Station experiment requiring crew interaction.

2004: Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate (CDIO), an educational initiative developed AeroAstro begins begins adoption by universities in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Today, more than 70 universities throughout the world are part of the MIT co-led CDIO Initiative

2010: AeroAstro-led team designs the D-8 aircraftas quieter, cleaner, 70 percent more fuel-efficient than current airliners.

what is aeroastro
What is AeroAstro?



planetary sciences









robotics and controls

  • AeroAstro-Lincoln Lab collaboration: undergrad & grad students in real world design – build research projects funded by external sponsors
  • 2010 project – UAV for calibratingground-basedsensorsystems, 2011 project – microUAVsdeployedfromaircraftflaredispensers
  • Begun 10 years ago as AeroAstro student project, now three on ISS
  • Provides DARPA, NASA, and other researchers with a long term, replenishable, upgradable testbed for validation of high risk metrology, control, and autonomy technologies for use in formation flight and autonomous docking, rendezvous and reconfiguration algorithms.
autonomous humans in the loop systems
Autonomous/Humans in the Loop Systems
  • Six collaborating AeroAstro labs researching challenges of unmanned aircraft and ground vehicles, and developing algorithms enabling collaboration between human operator and autonomous planners
  • Applications include military use, emergency response, disaster relief, agricultural mapping, and manufacturing.
protecting against b last induced brain injury
Protecting Against Blast-Induced Brain Injury
  • Developing/optimizing nanoengineered materials for protecting US soldiers from blast threats
  • Demonstrated current military helmet ACH is safe for blast events and that a face shield could significantly mitigate blast-induced Traumatic Brain Injury
reducing aviation s environmental impact
Reducing Aviation’s Environmental Impact
  • AeroAstro team is modifying ground operations to reduce aircraft fuel burn and engine emissions
  • Applying MIT-developed algorithms to coordinate push-backs, eight four-hour test periods at BOS saved >15,000 kg fuel, reduced taxi times by 20%
mit 150 open house april 30 2011
MIT 150 Open House: April 30, 2011

"We were stunned by the organization, scale of the experiments shown, and sheer number of staff and students involved. We participated all across the 'tute, the kids almost running between buildings as I read the options ahead. We saw the Army helicopters, water rockets, and all the exhibits in Johnson and the Rockwell Cage. We did materials experiments, were inBuilding 33 and 41for events, saw the ship models and viewed parts of lectures on robotics in Course 2. We loved all the activities in Stata [including] ...the DARPA autonomous vehicle... The flying car, motorized shopping cart, and the students trying to commercialize the Braille label maker were also big winners...

The best part was over dinner, when my kids sat there with paper and penciltrying to invent a different way to make the helium blimps they saw race.”

From an MIT President Susan Hockfield email to the MIT community.

future of exploration symposium
Future of Exploration Symposium

One panel, moderated by Prof. Larry Young and astronaut-professor Jeff Hoffman, included alum-astronauts Buzz Aldrin, TJ Creamer,Terry Hart, Rick Hauck, Mike Massimino, and, via downlink from the ISS, Cady Coleman.

hello from space
“Hello” from Space

And, one of the biggest hits of the 150 was the greeting to the Institute from Space, which we arranged, featuring alums Mike Fincke, Cady Coleman, and Greg Chamitoff.

women in aerospace symposium
Women in Aerospace Symposium
  • 12-14 top female PhD candidates from US and UK
  • Faculty panels
  • Keynote speakers
    • Yvonne Brill, pioneer in rocket propulsion
    • Dr. Wanda Austin, CEO of Aerospace Corp.
    • Cady Coleman, astronaut
wind tunnel testing
Wind Tunnel Testing

Image Credit: NASA (top left, top right), Bill Litant (bottom left, bottom right)

what to look for
What to Look For
  • Airfoil shape & orientation force air to flow faster over top side of the wing than over the bottom side of the wing
  • By Bernoulli's Principle, the faster flowing airstream above the exerts less pressure on the wing
  • Stall: when the angle of attack is too large and unstable flow ensues
wind tunnel demo
Wind Tunnel Demo
  • Objective: Illustrate basic aerodynamics concepts such as lift, drag, stall using a low speed flow visualization wind tunnel
  • “Little Smokey” wind tunnel

  • Materials (< $100)
    • Plywood
    • 2” x 4” wood
    • Polycarbonate sheet
    • Computer cooling fan
    • PVC pipes
    • Straws
    • Dry ice