Skip to main content

A Look Back and Forward...

Now that I am almost 5 months out of school, I feel that I can look back on the whole experience with fresh, almost adult, and unstressed eyes. While in the meat of the work it was hard to realize how the things I was designing, analyzing, and reporting about might translate to real-world projects. And even now, I think a lot of the stuff I did in college was just a way to teach me to problem solve, not necessarily tackle real issues.

However, a recent article on NASA.gov made me look at my final, senior design project in a whole new light. And since I didn't tell you much about it before, I will share with you now the excitement that was my senior design project.

But before I start bor...I mean, telling you about the project I will tell you a little about the article I read on NASA. The article was detailing the recent testing of the Global Hawk UAV. The Global Hawk is designated as a "High-Altitude, Long Endurance" UAV and on April 24 it proved its endurance by completing it's longest flight yet: a whopping 28 hours aloft! Here is a picture of the Global Hawk.

And what does this have to do with my senior design project you ask? Well, we had to design a High Altitude Long Endurance UAV capable of a 24 hour loiter above a specified target. We also had requirements to take off in a short distance, attain a ceiling altitude of 70,000ft and be able to fit the entire aircraft in a 20' X 5' X 5' shipping container, all while integrating complex surveillance equipment such as a SAR and FLIR. Oh, and I forgot to mention the hardest part of the whole thing: we had 4 ASU students, and 6 international students located in India and Singapore.

We called our aircraft the Chameleon for it's seemingly never-ending design changes. And it looked something like this:




It may look slightly different than the Global Hawk, simply because of some design requirements and restrictions we had, but really the two aircraft are more similar than they are different.

I designed the turboprop engines used for the Chameleon. Here's a close-up:

And here is a breakdown of the major components the Chameleon was equipped with, many are the same or similar to the equipment used on the Global Hawk.
And finally, remember that shipping container I was telling you about? Well, here is proof that our design actually fit inside!


So, what is the whole point of this blogpost? Well, it is really just for me to feel better about the ungodly amount of hours I spent working on this project, and the hassle of putting up with India and Singapore (haha, but seriously, that part suuuuccckkkeeedddd). But more than that, I am excited that something I did in college actually relates to the real world. As far as work goes, I am still learning what was, and wasn't important from college. Even tonight on the way to dinner Jeff and I were regurgitating Bernoulli's pressure and velocity equation (it's kinda fun to do that sometimes ;-)).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…

On 20 years with Type 1 Diabetes

I think it's finally time to hit 'publish' on this post, considering it's been sitting here for, oh you know, like 2 weeks now ;-) Sometimes I "April" about things too much (this is Chris's term), and with my dad here for Christmas I realized that it's definitely a trait passed down, haha, love you dad!


To be honest, I never thought the day would come when I would say, "I've had Type 1 Diabetes for 20 years."

20 years ago a cure was 'just on the horizon' and as an 11 year old kid I took that phrase to heart - I had to. My continued existence was based solely on whatever the endocrinologist said - pancreas, insulin, autoimmune, blood sugar, islet cells, shots. I didn't know what I didn't know at that point. I had never heard of an insulin pump or glucose meter. Ketones and hyperglycemia were just big, meaningless words. Carb ratios and counting might as well have been formulas for travelling at light speed. I wasn't ov…

Type 1 Diabetes - IT life.

Nine years ago (9 years ago?!), I was still waiting for the black-box-doctors at the FAA to clear my Class III medical certificate - a requirement for my then-job flying on experimental Army helicopters. To 'pump' up my diabetes-dejected ego (ha), Dave let me tag along with him for his MH-47G proficiency simulator runs. That tiny taste into helicopter flight dynamics gave me so much appreciation for him - hovering is literally the.hardest.thing, I was tense the entire time and constantly felt like I was one small cyclic movement away from losing control. Even though I knew in the back of my mind we were in a (moving) simulator, my senses got lost in the weight of the flight controls, the movement on the screens, and the hard thumps when I hovered right into the ground.

At the end of the runs I asked him how he has the stamina to pilot this monster of a helicopter for literally 15 hours straight (these special ops versions can mid-air refuel). He sort of laughed, but his answer…
01 09 10