TEAM KANAU Wins International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest
|Event Date:||August 11, 2014|
On August 9, 2014, the Mars Society declared Team Kanau, comprised primarily of students from Purdue University and Keio University, as the 1st place winner of the International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest. The final round, held at League City, Texas during the International Mars Society Convention 2014, included 9 other teams from across the world, comprising Germany, India, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland and the U.S. The requirement of the global student competition was to design a two-person Mars flyby mission departing Earth in 2018 as cheaply, safely and simply as possible. A panel of seven judges drawn from across the space industry, including the president of Mars Society, Dr. Robert Zubrin, as well as the first space tourist and founder of Inspiration Mars, Dennis Tito, determined that Team Kanau’s report content and presentation best fulfilled the goals of the competition. Team Kanau overcame differences in culture, language and time zones to submit a winning proposal to Inspiration Mars and the Mars Society. This outcome reflects the power of international collaboration and what can be achieved by combining the efforts of passionate people from various walks of life. Team Kanau truly believed in the famous quote when it marched toward the competition that “Failure is not an option.”
Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics team members (pictured) include Max Fagin, Kshitij Mall, Ashwati Das, and Jeff Stuart.
The idea of a manned Mars flyby mission of the type proposed by Inspiration Mars was motivated by trajectory designs investigated by Professor James Longuski as well as alumni Dr. Moonish Patel and Dr. Jon Sims, from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. While Inspiration Mars has conducted preliminary feasibility studies for a manned Mars flyby mission, the student design competition was hosted in order to provide additional input as well as explore other design possibilities. Accordingly, a 2021 flyby mission to Mars, as currently proposed by Inspiration Mars, could include many concepts suggested by Team Kanau. Thus, Team Kanau, and indeed the competition as a whole, demonstrated how the world-class education provided by Purdue University continues to shape the future of spaceflight.
Team Kanau is comprised of students, faculty, researchers and alumni from Purdue University, Keio University, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, International Space University, Nagoya University, Art Center College of Design, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and Tokyo Jogakkan College. Purdue University contributed immensely to the design of launch operations, spacecraft trajectory, vehicle stack selection, aerocapture, power, thermal, and communications systems. It also worked on reliability, risk assessment, cost, schedule, astronaut selection and training, radiation, and outreach, among many aspects of the overall design.
The team members from Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics are:
- Professor Michael Grant, Rapid Design of Systems Lab (RDSL), Systems, team co-advisor
- Ashwati Das, graduate student in Astrodynamics and Space Applications
- Jeff Stuart, graduate student in Astrodynamics and Space Applications
- Kshitij Mall, graduate student in RDSL, Systems
- Max Fagin, graduate student in RDSL, Systems, and Artisan Fabrication Lab (AFL)
Additional assistance from Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics was provided by:
- Professor Bill Crossley, Systems
- Professor Dan Dumbacher, Systems
- Professor David Filmer, Communications, Astrodynamics and Space Applicationis
- Professor Stephen Heister, Propulsion
- Professor Kathleen Howell, Astrodynamics and Space Applications
- Professor Tom Shih, Aerodynamics and Department Head
- Marat Kulakhmetov, graduate student in Propulsion
- Jim D'Entrement, graduate student in Propulsion
- Rizwan Qureshi, AAE alumnus, now at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Shreyas Vathul Subramanian, graduate student in SoSL Systems
- Thomas Antony, graduate student in RDSL, Systems
The Japanese team of Shota Iino, Ayako Ono, Eriko Moriyama, Takuya Ohgi, Koki Tanaka, Yuri Aida, and Daichi Nakajima worked on life support systems, spacecraft interior design and medical healthcare for the crew. The team co-advisor from Japan is Professor Hiroyuki Miyajima. Nick Gillin, a popular machinamist from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California worked on the animation video for this mission. The animation video can be found on the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/occupyplanet4/animation.
Interesting facts about our team:
- Team Kanau was one of the smallest teams in the competition.
- We completed the report for the first round in just two months. Other teams joined the competition a few months before we did.
- It was the only team in the finals based on international collaboration.
- It was the only team that had contributions from Japan and was formed because of an exchange program between Purdue and Keio universities triggered by GEP, Purdue.
- Team member Jeff Stuart preferred leading Purdue at the competition than attending his graduate commencement walk on August 9 after successful completion of his doctorate.
- At one point, team members were working in three time zones (US, Netherlands and Japan).
For further information, please visit:
Official results page: Inspiration Mars Student Contest 2014 results
Team Kanau website - https://sites.google.com/site/occupyplanet4/
The Mars Society website: http://www.marssociety.org/