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April 9, 2018

Research Symposium Series: William O'Neill, Samantha Alberts, & Sai Mudumba

Event Date: April 9, 2018
Hosted By: Aero Assist
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: ARM 1103
Priority: No
School or Program: Aeronautics and Astronautics
College Calendar: Hide
AAE Research Symposium 2018 is an annual research symposium organized by AeroAssist which gives an excellent opportunities to the undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Aeronautics to showcase their research and win amazing prizes worth $1300.00. There will also be FREE dinner and drinks during the presentations.

William John O’Neill

Assessing cost, performance, robustness and schedule of human lunar exploration missions using robust portfolio optimization

Human space missions to the Moon require many different interacting systems. With the recent surge in commercial space interests, the space industry currently boasts a multitude of different systems and technologies of varying performance, cost and maturity that could be assembled to form feasible architectures. These systems are sourced from different national space programs as well as commercial space companies. Each system has specific requirements that must be met as well as certain incompatibilities between systems. Compounding this is the uncertainty associated with each system in terms of cost, performance and schedule. The resulting complexity and breadth of potential combinations does not lend well to the traditional systems engineering approach. Robust Portfolio Optimization (RPO) is a methodology for selecting systems that form feasible architectures that cooperate to meet overall mission objectives. Architectures can be assessed based on cost, performance, robustness and development scheduling. This presentation details the results of the application of the RPO methodology to a lunar mission in terms of optimal portfolios of systems and the potential tradeoffs available. Portfolios of systems are chosen from a library of both potential future systems and those currently operational from both international space partners as well as commercial space companies.

Samantha Alberts

Using surface evolver for the development of cryogenic propellant gauging Samantha Alberts

Unless one relies on firing and settling a propellant tank with thrusters, state of the art cryogenic gauging is nearly non-existent. Future long-duration human space exploration missions will depend on rapid, repeatable cryogenic propellant gauging in conjunction with storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants. To further understand the fundamental microgravity fluid physics and advance these technology goals, a joint experiment and computational study is designed to investigate specifically the impact of internal tank structures on the gas-liquid interface. The technology demonstration payload is currently in development and is slated to fly on a single Blue Origin sub-orbital flight in their standard-sized single-height payload locker. To investigate and inform the payload design as well as a NASA ISS RRM3 mission, the Surface Evolver computer model is utilized as it is the only model which can solve for 3-D capillary-dominated liquid positioning in spacecraft propellant tanks with internal structures. This work overviews the results of the initial Surface Evolver geometry investigations for a tank with an instrumentation sensor board and a central drainage post.

Sai Mudumba

Variable geometry wing-tip devices

Birds are masters at flying. All the advanced aerospace knowledge ever derived by human beings, and some problems that are still unsolved, appears to be innate characteristics in birds, gifted to them by nature. Out of many things birds are capable of, one quality that this experiment takes inspiration from is how they use their feathers to change the way air flows through their wings, especially at their wing-tips. Today’s aircraft have a constant, fixed wing-tip geometry at takeoff, cruise, and landing. The premise of this experiment is finding whether a variable wingtip geometry will have any impact on induced drag at different flight speeds and flight regimes. This experiment explores the idea of what if the wingtips are changing their shape and how that will affect the performance of the aircraft. To meet the objective, 3-D printing was extensively used to print multiple wing-tips and a mechanism was designed to vary the angles of the wingtips manually. The wing-tips are attached to an already existing wing. The experiment was performed at the Aerospace Sciences Laboratory (ASL) in the Boeing Wind Tunnel as part of AAE 334 final lab.

What is the Research Symposium Series?

The Research Symposium Series is a department-sponsored forum for graduate students and advanced-level undergraduates to present their research to a general audience.

The Research Symposium Series is designed to: 

  • Facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge among faculty and graduate students.
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop their technical presentation skills.
  • Promote the research activities of the department to undergraduates and other interested individuals.

2018 Prizes

  • $500, $300, $200 for best three presentations
  • $150 for best undergraduate presentation
  • $150 for best abstract


Questions about the Research Symposium Series may be directed to:
*Winners in the presentation category cannot compete in that category the following year. The same applies for winners in the abstract category.