Two teams of students from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus were placed first in their categories in the Revolutionary Advanced Aerospace Systems – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) design competition sponsored by NASA and the National Institute for Aerospace (NIA). Sixteen teams competed in the contest, which challenges students to solve real-life space exploration challenges. This year, the competition asked teams to develop a mission with innovative approaches and new technologies allowing astronauts to be less dependent on resources transported from Earth. This included four categories: Earth independent lunar pioneering; Mars moons prospector; and large-scale Mars entry, descent and landing (EDL). “Some of the teams had ideas that NASA might be able to use as we venture out beyond low-Earth orbit,” said Pat Troutman, Human Exploration Strategic Analysis lead at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. “The judges and I were impressed by the students’ engineering skills and innovative thinking.” The first placed team in the Mars EDL category was a team advised by Embry-Riddle Aerospace Engineering professor Dr. Eric Perrell, including Aerospace Engineering seniors Justin Bennett, Nolan Fletcher, Abdul Manarvi, Matt Neiding, James Rogers, Cody Shaw and Jon Willems. The team presented concepts for a pathfinder mission to demonstrate launching a spacecraft from Earth and placing a 20-metric-ton payload for producing oxygen and fuel for later human missions on the surface of Mars. “The RASC-AL competition was an amazing opportunity for aerospace students to come together and share innovations and ideas that will someday contribute to human space exploration,” Fletcher said. “The team and I are grateful to be recognized by industry leaders and to represent our university at such a prestigious event.”
NASA recently announced the continuation of a two-phase $750K STTR Research Award on Free-Flying Unmanned Robotic Spacecraft for Asteroid Resource Prospecting and Characterization. ERAU Faculties Dr. Hever Moncayo as PI and Dr. Richard Prazenica as Co-PI, and the Research Engineer Dr. Kris Zacny from HoneyBee Robotics Company as Co-PI are leading the effort. Dr. Sergey Drakunov from the ERAU Physical Sciences Department is also collaborating on this research effort. In this project, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and Honeybee Robotics (HBR) are developing an integrated autonomous free-flyer robotic spacecraft system to support the exploration and subsequent resource utilization of asteroids as well as other planetary bodies and moons. The proposed spacecraft will address the first step towards In Situ Resource Utilization from Near Earth Object bodies; namely it will prospect it with sample acquisition devices and characterize the NEO for ISRU potential. The research team will focus on an innovative resource prospecting mission concept based on autonomous small marsupial free-flyer prospector spacecraft. Such technologies are currently being developed at ERAU. The spacecraft will utilize unique technologies such as MicroDrills and Pneumatic Samplers previously developed under other SBIR projects by Honeybee Robotics. In particular, the project focuses on flight control and reconfiguration for guidance under extreme environments, vision-aided navigation approaches, and sampling systems design, testing and evaluation. The successful completion of this research effort is anticipated to provide a theoretical and experimental framework to investigate the capabilities of a marsupial-based robotic system to explore and extract samples from terrains that would be inaccessible to traditional rover-type vehicles and where traditional flight guidance and navigation sensors, such as GPS receivers and magnetometers, are not functional.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) coalition have been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the nation's new Center of Excellence in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As a co-founder of ASSURE, Embry-Riddle will act as the technical lead in UAS airport ground operations, pilot and crew training as well as co-lead in command and communication research. With minimal changes in the current system, ASSURE’s mission is to help FAA by providing research that quickly and safely navigates unmanned aerial systems into the National Airspace System. Dr. Richard Stansbury, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, states that, “Embry-Riddle helped develop the ASSURE Coalition to create the best collaboration between academia and industry to support research in unmanned aircraft systems. We are eager to begin working with the FAA to solve these technical challenges.” UAS Operations have been developing at a fast rate. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach as well as Prescott, is one of the first schools in United States to offer a degree in UAS. Go ERAU!
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was highly ranked in all three categories of the ‘Talent Pipeline’ of the U.S. aerospace and defense workforce by the Aviation Week Article. Embry-Riddle was ranked second in “A&D Companies Preferred Suppliers of Talent” category. In this category, Embry-Riddle was ranked above such distinguished universities as Georgia Tech, MIT and Purdue University. Embry-Riddle was also ranked second in the “Alma Maters Most Valued by Employee in Landing a Job/Promotion” category, and third in the “Where the Greatest Number of A&D Hires Came From” category. This shows the quality and level of education of the many talented engineers who developed their skills at Embry-Riddle. Notably, Embry-Riddle was the only school to be ranked in all the three categories. Go, Eagles!