The Drexel Space Systems Laboratory

Mission

Provide Experience through hands-on and theoretical aerospace projects
Provide Excitement through observing completed projects ‘fly’
Provide Exposure through presenting the findings in conferences and competitions

Vision

To inspire future generations to advance aerospace technology.

Updates


Congratulations to our Graduating Senior Mike Daily! He has been heavily involved with the lab during his time at Drexel University, and we would like to thank him for his involvement.

Projects and Competitions


Electric Propulsion Team


Description



The DSSL FEEP (Field Emission Electric Propulsion) Project is focused on constructing a proof-of-concept field emission electric propulsion system. This electric thruster can achieve a specific impulse of over 10,000 seconds and may be used for course corrections or cubesat applications in the space industry. FEEP thrusters have been experimented with using liquid metals (cesium, indium or mercury) as fuels. For this project, we will be transitioning onto ionic liquids, specifically 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (EMI-BF4). The FEEP Project setup will allow the researchers and users to gather empirical data of the ionic liquid and electrical behavior of the system under high energies. This data is used to determine the governing mathematical and physical nature of the ionization structure and phenomena.





Start Year: August 2014


Advisors


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff

Dr. Nicolas J Alvarez



Students


Tony Liang

Damien Turchi

John Breslin

Noah Alessi - STAR Student



Last Updated: August 23rd, 2015

Origami Solar Pannel Deployment


Abstract



The origami solar pannel deployment project was focused on a mechanical deployment system for an origami solar array developed by one of the senior design projects that functioned through the DSSL. The purpose of the senior design project was to create a solar array that was able to fold into a small volume and be able to deploy into a large surface area. A deployment mechanism was developed using thin metal arms that wind up and the release under their own torsional force as shown below in the video. There is a possibility for this deployment system to be pantented, this process is underway.



Start Year: September 2014


Advisor


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff



Students / Summer Interns


Tim Frey (RIT Student)

Dre'Quahn Walker (Embry Riddle Student)

Will Green



Last Updated: September 15th, 2015

NIA RASC-AL


Description



Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) is a student design competition that is sponsored by NASA and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace. RASC-AL was formed to provide university-level engineering students with the opportunity to design human scale architecture concepts based on NASA engineering challenges as well as offer NASA access to new research and design projects by students. Each year, the NIA releases different themes that each participating team can can choose from. These include various lunar or planetary missions as well as a robotics competition that has students design a robot that could be implemented on space missions according to the theme and guidelines set out. Each team submits an abstract at the beginning of each year and 16 of these teams are chosen to present their mission concept to the RASC-AL forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The Drexel University team has been selected to present their mission concept to the RASC-AL forum for the 2014-2015 competition for the fourth year in a row.

This is the fifth year that Drexel has competed in the RASC-AL competition.




Start Year: 2010


Advisor


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff



Students


Amanda Ireland

Rishiraj Mathur

Tirthak Sinha

Dipika Sharma

Chaitali Vyas

Ronnie Joshi

Nidhi Kumar

Frederick Wachter



Last Updated: June 22nd, 2015

Hyperloop


Description



Hyperloop is new conceptual form of high speed transportion that involves a pod moving in a near-vacuum environment at speeds up to mach 1. This concept was put forward by Elon Musk and his engineerings in 2012. SpaceX is hosting a competition where university and professional teams are invited to make a working prototype of this system by June 2016. As of August 15th, over 1,200 teams across America have showed interest in participating in this competition.



The Drexel Space Systems Laboratory has put together a team of engineers and designers from various departments and colleges within Drexel University, which currently consists of over 40 members including 8 senior design teams. The first deadline for this competition is to submit a 30 slide powerpoint describing a top-down analysis of the hyperloop system. Upon acceptance to continue in this competition, a full design paper will be submitted by December 15th, and presented at Texas A&M University on January 15th. Each team that is accepted past this stage will then begin to build the passenger pod their proposed design, which will be tested in Hawthorne, California at the SpaceX facility in June 2016.



Start Year: August 2015


Advisors


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff

Dr. Marek Swoboda


More Information on Website



Last Updated: August 23rd, 2015


Senior Design


2014-2015 Academic Year


GAVN


Abstract



Current small-scale UAVs use RPM controlled steering systems, and have shown a high level of precision in maneuverability. This method of control only functions optimally with fast-response propulsion sources, such as electric motors. Larger propulsion sources, such as turbines, do not have high-speed response times, and thus this cannot be feasibly scaled to large aircraft. Consequently, a new method of flight actuation and control is needed that can achieve comparable maneuverability to existing small-scale UAVs while providing an interchangeable and robust platform for other propulsion sources. A prototype tri-rotor UAV was developed that uses thrust vectoring, eliminating the need for frequent RPM changes. This UAV works independently of the response time of the propulsion source. Thrust is provided by ducted fans housed inside gimbal-actuated vertical-takeoff-and-landing nacelles (GAVNs). This UAV served as a proof of concept that thrust vectoring could produce a stable, controllable aircraft.




Start Year: September 2014


Advisor


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff



Students


Michael Daily

Andrew Quinn

Lauren Nutt

Paul Lachaud

Michael Simeoni



Last Updated: April 17th, 2015

Cubesat


Abstract



The goal for the proposed Moment Arm Propulsion System (MAPS) is to expand the capabilities of reaction wheel based attitude control systems for CubeSats. Mission applications include asteroid exploration and Lunar or Martian imaging. The focus of MAPS is to perform momentum dumping and recharging of RWAs via deployable micro-pulsed plasma thrusters on a 3U CubeSat. A prototype for MAPS has been designed and built to demonstrate the momentum dumping and recharging capabilities provided by MAPS for a reaction wheel based attitude control system. Compressed air was used as a stand in to represent the secondary micro-pulsed plasma desaturation system. The majority of satellite subsystems have been tested, verified, and integrated into the overall control system. Preliminary testing showed successful results in maintaining momentum control during momentum dumping.


Start Year: September 2014


Advisor


Dr. Ajmal Yousuff



Students


Nick Amanatides

James Kominick

Edmond Mak

Christopher Rubbeer

Kyle Santos



Last Updated: June 31st, 2015


Research

Do you have any research ideas? Let us know using the form at the bottom of this page!

Advisors


Ajmal Yousuff

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Field: Dynamics, Control, Aerospace
Position: Director
Department Website

Marek Swoboda

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Field: Devices, Cardiovascular Engineering
Position: Faculty Advisor
Department Website

Joseph Kujawski

Title: N/A
Department: N/A
Field: Eletrical Engineering, Aerospace
Position: Hardware Consultant

Leslie Lamberson

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Field: Aviation and Aerospace
Position: Advisor
Department Website

Members


Amanda Ireland

Major: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Year: Pre-Junior
Interests: Aerospace, Robotics, Renewable Energy
Position: Lab Manager

Frederick Wachter

Major: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Year: Sophomore
Interests: Big Data, Digital Fabrication, Automation
Position: Webmaster

Brandon Katz

Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Senior
Interest:
Project: Amature Radio Club

Damien Turchi

Major: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Year: Junior
Interest:
Project: Electric Propulsion Project

Distinguished Alumni


Michael Daily

Major: Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Year: Senior
Interest:
Project: GAVN Team