Brooke Owens Fellowship Recipient Encourages Others to Apply

This summer, aerospace engineering student Kaley Hassell participated in the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program. Now, she is encouraging other students to apply.

Hassell decided to apply for the Brooke Owens Fellowship program when she saw that it offered opportunities to work with amazing aerospace companies. She said, “the program is absolutely amazing for undergraduate women in aerospace.” Applications for the fellowship are open, and they close on November 12th.

As a selected fellow, Kaley Hassel worked with the engineering department at Sierra Nevada Corporation on the Dream Chaser spacecraft. She also got the opportunity to work with astronauts and CEOs.

Part of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Summit was the grand challenge presentation held in Washington D.C. “All of us were divided into groups and solved a grand challenge-or humanity’s next biggest feat,” Hassell said. “We got to present and network with a lot of cool people! We were tasked with solving how we could create a collaborative lunar economy. It was a lot of fun.”

Part of the Fellowship is being assigned a professional mentor. “Mine was Mr. Tory Bruno, CEO of the United Launch Alliance,” Hassell said. “It was really awesome getting to know and learn from him. He even invited me to observe mission control on the recent AEHF5 launch on August 8th!”

Kaley Hassell’s Experiences

NASA Administrator Mr. Jim Bridenstine keynote spoke to the Brookies at one of the fellowship dinners. “It was really cool,” Hassell said. “I learned a lot about how policy goes into the aerospace world and even got to ask him a question face to face!”

Hassell said the Brookies are definitely a family. She got to make some great connections with women from around the world who are passionate about making a change in the world of aerospace.

They also got to have a fireside chat with NASA Chief of Staff Janet Karika.

They also got to meet Oklahoma Representative Kendra Horn, and have a fireside chat with her about different space issues as well as learn from her successes and experience.

Kaley Hassell and her friend Ivy (another Brookie) with the Dream Chaser spacecraft. “I worked in the Systems Engineering department, solving problems and integrating between different systems,” Hassell said.

Pictured is the Brookie Class of 2019 at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum. The Discovery space shuttle is in the background. “It was really cool to see it in person since I was basically working on a mini version of the Shuttle at SNC this summer!” Hassell said.

Robust Adaptive Controls for Shipboard Landing of Multi-Rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Alex Bryant and Lauren Ingmire in the lab.

A newly funded project in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering makes use of close collaboration between researchers in different fields to improve a critical technology for national defense. Dr. Keith Walters and Dr. Andrea L’Afflitto (now a faculty member at Virginia Tech) are combining their respective expertise in aerodynamics and controls to address a difficult challenge for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

It is well known that UAVs are increasingly being used for both commercial and military applications. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) currently employs multi-rotor helicopters (quadcopters) for remote sensing missions, such as surveillance and search and rescue. In the future, they will support troops by performing tactical tasks, such as picking up and dropping off payloads and surveying cluttered environments. Of particular interest are vehicles that operate autonomously, that is without any direct control by human pilots. These vehicles use onboard computers and mathematical control algorithms to perform necessary aerial maneuvers, travel to desired locations, avoid obstacles, and perform whatever tasks are required of their mission. The development of new and improved control algorithms is, therefore, an active area of research with the potential for substantial impact on next-generation UAVs.

This project focuses on the development of improved control algorithms specifically designed for the landing of UAVs on U.S. Navy ships. Shipboard landing is a complex task for UAVs because 1) the deck is highly unsteady in rough seas; 2) adverse sea conditions are often accompanied by adverse weather and high winds; 3) the superstructure of a moving ship induces a wake in the air, which further perturbs the UAVs landing on its deck; 4) near hard surfaces, the ‘ground effect’ alters the thrust produced by the propellers; and 5) UAVs returning from a mission may be damaged. To land on the deck of a ship, a UAV’s control system regulates the thrust forces of each propeller so that the aircraft approaches the ship with some desired relative velocity and orientation, leading to (hopefully) a gentle touch down in the appropriate location.

The primary objective of this research is to design a robust adaptive control system for multi-rotor UAVs that allows precise landing on the deck of moving ships. The work builds on prior research by former AME faculty member Andrea L’Afflitto and will make use of a model reference adaptive control (MRAC) architecture. Such an approach guarantees robustness of the closed-loop feedback system to both uncertainties in system parameters and unknown state-dependent disturbances that affect the control inputs, such as wind gusts or the swinging of an attached cargo payload.

The control algorithm will also be improved by adopting more realistic functional relationships between propeller rotational speed (RPM) and the generated thrust. Currently, it is assumed that thrust is simply proportional to RPM squared under all conditions. While this is often nearly true when a UAV is hovering in calm air, it does not hold during complex aerial maneuvers, under the action of strong wind disturbances, or when the vehicle is close to a solid surface such as the deck of a ship. Keith Walters and his students will perform computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of quadrotor propellers to more accurately determine the relationship between thrust and RPM under these conditions. The simulations will be used to develop an analytical function that will be included in the control algorithm developed by Dr. L’Afflitto.

The scientific advances made by this project will be disseminated in the technical literature and will provide opportunities for graduate students to participate in national or international conferences. The improvement to UAV performance during shipboard landing will be critical to increasing the value of these vehicles to U.S. Navy missions, and the technology can be translated to other branches of the armed forces to improve design and operation of their next-generation UAV systems. Eventually, the research may be adopted by the commercial sector to improve, for example, the use of UAVs for package delivery or remote sensing in adverse weather conditions.

Undergraduate Rocket Research Group has Successful Launch

The University of Oklahoma’s Undergraduate Rocket Research group launched a rocket in Argonia, Kansas on March 10th, 2019. Dr. Thomas Hays and his students are proud of the results.

The rocket had a maximum speed of Mach 1.15 and weighed 105 pounds. The students involved in the launch were Kaley Hassell, Jarod Manning, Alex Speed, and Scott Tesser. Congratulations on your successful launch!

Click here to watch the video of the rocket.

Two AME Alumni Inducted into the GCoE Distinguished Graduates Society

 

AME Alumni Michelle Coppedge (pictured) and Freda Webb will be inducted into the Distinguished Graduates Society of Gallogly College of Engineering.

Michelle Coppedge received her bachelor’s degree in 1988 for mechanical engineering. She is currently the director of Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center – Federal Aviation Administration and serves on the AME Board of Advisors. Freda Webb received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1979. She is the Vice President of Operations for Panhandle Oil and Gas, Inc.

In 1990, the College of Engineering established the Distinguished Graduates Society to honor our most accomplished alumni. Selection is based upon prominent and distinguished professional or technical achievement, notable public service, outstanding contribution to and support of education, honors of election in organizations, and other contributions to the engineering profession. (GCoE)

Greg Williams Receives Staff Merit Award

AME Shop Machinist Greg Williams received the 2019 Staff Merit award on April 24, 2019.

Greg Williams is from Oklahoma City. He has worked at OU and AME for 17 years. Mr. Williams enjoys working with the people at AME as well as the flexibility and variety in his position as a Machinist in the AME Shop. Outside of AME, Mr. Williams enjoys spending time outdoors.

Congratulations Greg!

BBDL Students Give Presentation at Moore Norman Technology Center

On March 14th and April 9th, Dr. Lee and students from the Biomechanics and Biomaterials Design Laboratory (BBDL) provided presentations to the Moore Norman Technology Center (MNTC) pre-engineering students.

These presentations provided the MNTC students with some insight into the regular week-to-week life of a college student, and the learning experiences that the BBDL students had throughout their college careers. They also emphasized how valuable undergraduate engineering is to personal/professional growth and how easily one can get involved. Additionally, the BBDL students talked about their ongoing work in cardiovascular and brain aneurysm biomechanics and how the basic engineering principles span a diverse array of applications.

WindBAG- Pre-Capstone Project

This year, the Pre-Capstone Principles of Engineering Design class is revolved around Project WindBAG, the central semester-long team-based project. This project is designed to provide students with the opportunity to act as junior engineers exploring solutions to a complex, multi-level, and competency-building program.

The students are given a task to design, build and test a system capable of converting wind energy into some more useful form of energy and then storing this energy in some compact, transportable module. The wind source is represented by a household electric fan, and the energy modules must be used to propel a vehicle, carrying as large a payload through as many loops around a track as possible, subject to the restrictions and conditions.

One component of the experience is that the problem revolves around a central narrative. This narrative provides the opportunity to diagram the problem within its complete context, just as problems in the real world exist within particular contexts. This experiential learning provides the basis on which competencies will be further developed.

 

 

 

Sooner Off-Road Participates in Midnight Mayhem Competition

On September 21, Sooner Off-Road participated in the Midnight Mayhem competition at the Drop Forge Proving Grounds at the University of Louisville. They competed against 100 other teams in the competition and finished with successful results.

Twelve Sooner Off-Road members attended the competition and all of them had the opportunity to drive. They took two vehicles to the competition, the 2019 competition vehicle, Isabella #12, and the 2018 competition vehicle, Valerie #41.

 

Valerie #41 results:

50th Acceleration 5.32 seconds over 150ft

50th Maneuverability

50th Baja Cross, a suspension testing event

 

Isabella #12 results:

20th Acceleration at 4.77 seconds over 150ft

37th Maneuverability

10th Baja Cross, a suspension testing event

 

In the 4-hour endurance race:

Car #12 peaked in 3rd place before it broke a rear suspension component. They were able to repair the vehicle and get back on track and complete a few more laps before the end of the race. The car’s final place was 24th with a final lap time of 2 minutes and 51 seconds.

Car #41 peaked in 15th place before breaking a front suspension component and coming out of the race for the remainder of the time. The car’s final place was 41st with a best lap time of 3 minutes and 11 seconds.

AME Graduates Featured in The OU Daily for Their New App

Sam Jett (pictured), a mechanical engineering graduate, Zach Schuermann, a mechanical engineering and computer engineering graduate, and Joseph Lovoi, a finance, entrepreneurship and venture management graduate, were featured in the OU Daily for their new app. The app is called STEV (Student-Teacher Evaluation Visualizations), and it’s a new way for students to evaluate their teachers.

Click here to read the full article on the OU Daily Website.

Student Research Spotlight: BBDL Member Devin Laurence

The AME Student Research Spotlight this month is Devin Laurence, a member of the Biomechanics and Biomaterials Design Lab (BBDL). Laurence is a graduate student in the BBDL at the University of Oklahoma studying mechanical engineering. His specific research project involves computational modeling of the tricuspid heart valve to move towards patient-specific therapeutics. He plans to pursue his Ph.D. with an emphasis on cardiovascular biomechanics and to continue into academia afterwards. In his free time, Devin enjoys playing chess, disc golf, and hiking/camping.

Click here for more information about the BBDL.