Summer 2024 AAE 418 Zero Gravity Flight Experiment

Summer 2024 AAE 418 Zero Gravity Flight Experiment


AAE418 “Zero-gravity Flight Experiment” in Summer 2024

With Professor Collicott

This design-build-test class is offered in the summer.  We work on real-world flight experiments, and the real world doesn’t stop in the summer, so I don’t get to stop in the summer.  It is 3 credits, meeting 10 hours per week for 8 weeks.  AAE students can take AAE418 for credit twice.

Thus summer we will continue work on:

  • “CryoBubbles”, a liquid-nitrogen experiment for parabolic flight.  It will fly in April and then later in 2024 or early 2025 so there will be a lot to do for adapting it and ground-testing components and system operations.
  • PREFER, a sensor payload to fly on a handful of sub-orbital rockets in the US.  Launch dates keep slipping but that’s out of our hands, we build the payload.  Might fly this summer.
  • Balloon glider for lunar gravity parabolas – we are designing and building the prototype for a multi-user “laboratory” in a stratospheric glider.  This is in collaboration with a US high-altitude balloon company.
  • Atmospheric Sampling, a demo experiment to sample air in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere regions of our atmosphere.  That’s about 60km to 100km altitude.  To fly on a suborbital rocket to lead the way for atmospheric and climate researchers to put modern reusable commercial sub-orbital rockets to work. 
  • Drop tower, we are working to install roller coaster brakes in the 2-second drop tower here in Armstrong Hall.  There are many steps and spring semester made a great start.  Summer should continue designing some parts and start building some other parts.  Brake mount, guide rails, and drop package are all new so there’s a lot of work to do.
  • Rotational Slosh, data processing if we have enough people.  The hardware will be ready at the end of Spring semester, so no more hardware work is needed.

Pictured: AAE 418 team at the December 2023 Blue Origin Misison. We flew the "2D Slosh" payload for NASA on this flight.