Skip navigation

Team of AAE Students Advances in NASA's Micro-g NExT Program

Event Date: December 10, 2015
Micro-g NExT team members photo
David Wolf photo
A team of AAE undergraduate students has been selected by NASA to test its spaceflight hardware design in NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) program. Micro-g NExT provides undergrads an opportunity to design, build, and test a tool or device that addresses a space exploration problem.

A team of AAE undergraduate students has been selected by NASA to test its spaceflight hardware design in NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) program. Micro-g NExT provides undergrads an opportunity to design, build, and test a tool or device that addresses a space exploration problem. A team of four Purdue AAE undergrads from Professor Steven Collicott’s "Zero-gravity Flight Experiment" class, led by Professor David Wolf, submitted its original proposal, “Purdue NExT: Experimental Asteroid Recovery Vehicle Bridge,” in October. The Micro-g NExT review committee has chosen the Purdue proposal the NExT program.

Students will now build and test their original design for a lightweight deployable boom which will help future astronauts move, during spacewalks, from the Orion crew capsule to the Asteroid Recovery Vehicle without risk of damage to the Orion's thermal protection system. In May the student team will work with NASA astronauts and engineers to test their design in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL), a massive swimming pool in which astronauts train for spacewalks and test spaceflight hardware. Professional NBL divers will test the boom while the student team directs them from the Test Conductor Room of the NBL facility.

In addition to hands-on design and testing, Micro-g NExT teams are also expected to engage future engineers and explorers through public outreach and education about their projects.  The Purdue team has proposed outreach interactions with the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and other groups. 

This winning proposal continues a string of years since 1996 in which Purdue undergraduate teams have had their proposals selected by NASA for flight or ground testing.

Pictured in top photo are team members (from L-R): AAE junior Mitch Woolever, and senior AAE students Eugene Black, Austin Black, and Chris Warner.

Pictured in bottom photo is Purdue alum and visiting professor David Wolf