AAE students selected to advance in NASA Micro-g NExT program

A team of AAE Prof. Steven Collicott's 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. The team is designing a tool to anchor an astronaut to the surface of an asteroid.

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 five Purdue AAE undergrads from Professor Steven Collicott’s AAE418 "Zero-gravity Flight Experiment" class submitted its original proposal for a tool to anchor an astronaut to the surface of an asteroid.

“Being smaller than planets, asteroids have much weaker gravitational force attracting the astronauts to the surface of the asteroid,” says Prof. Collicott.  “A way to tether an astronaut or an instrument to the surface is needed.  This is the team’s goal.”

Students will now build and test their original design, under the advisement of visiting professor and Purdue alumni astronaut David Wolf. 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 tool while the student team directs them from the Test Conductor Room of the NBL facility.

The Purdue AAE418 class has produced winning proposals for all three years of the NASA NExT program. This win also continues a long series of successful undergraduate proposals for zero-gravity projects from AAE418 that began 20 years ago in the fall of 1996.

 

 

Pictured in top photo are team members (from L-R): Cameron McInnes, Katie Bugelholl, Nikhil Gupta, Cody Myers (Team Leader), and Sarah Bugelholl

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