Designing a Container to Transport Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser

At the beginning of the school year, Chris Raatz pitched a Capstone project working with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The project was to work with the Ground Operations (Ground Ops) team out of Louisville Colorado, the team he had been a part of for his internship that summer. The Ground Operations team wanted an ERAU Capstone team to fully design and validate a container to be used to transport the Uncrewed Dream Chaser (UDC). The team was then selected and formed, and a team lead was chosen. Maggie Mueller became the team lead, with team members Chris Raatz, Madison Sartain and James Robinson. From there the team had to brainstorm ideas for what the container would look like. Weekly phone calls with the Ground Ops team helped to define the project and hone in on what the container needed to accomplish. The first iteration of the container, called the UDC Transport Cover (UTC), was a simple box with a draw-bridge door.

First iteration of the UTC

This was the design that the team presented at the Preliminary Design Review in December. This project is under a Non-Disclosure Agreement with the company, so the presentation was only open to ERAU faculty. Shortly after this presentation, in late January 2019, several members of the Ground Ops team decided to come visit us and work with us for a few days on the project. This was very beneficial to the project as well as to the team members to be able to work with professional engineers and get feedback. The design was going well after this, however, the week before spring break, the Ground Ops team decided that they needed to change the concept of operations for how the UTC would be loaded. They told the team that instead of using a door, they would like to crane the payload in, which meant that the top five sides needed to be removable. At this point in time the UTC had changed slightly to have barn doors and chamfered edges.

Second iteration of the UTC

This was a difficult change for the team, however we faced it head-on, with the knowledge that big changes would be passed down to us in our engineering careers and we would have to find a way to figure it out. At this point, James and Chris were able to take a trip to visit with another company that is designing a piece of equipment that has to interface with the UTC. This meeting with Fulcrum Engineering in Fort Worth Texas was very informative and helpful in order to get the redesign on the proper track. After several weeks of working the redesign, the newest model has chamfered edges and a separate floor plate.

Newest iteration of the UTC

The team also designed, constructed and tested a four foot square container with a unit cell of the UTC wall in order to figure out what the heat transfer through the wall will be. The UTC has to be able to control its environment due to the fact that it is transporting spaceflight hardware. Being able to get our hands dirty with welding, cutting, insulation and assembly was great!

The team also had to opportunity at the beginning of April to travel to the SNC office in Colorado to spend two days working with the Ground Ops team and getting feedback on the redesign. The Ground Ops team was very helpful in ensuring that we had all different types of engineers from structural to heat transfer to electrical to meet with to ensure we could get all of our questions answered. The office is very nice and the people are great to work with. We also got to see the test article that was dropped at Edwards Air Force Base and successfully landed on the runway (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDEKSPOLXAc).

The ERAU team at SNC (left to right: AJ Bradley (SNC), James Robinson, Chris Raatz, Maggie Mueller, Madison Sartain, Kelly Diaz (SNC))

For the remainder of the semester the team will be working to complete the design and finish up the details of the container. We are excited to send our design to SNC for final review and for it to be built and used to aid in the mission of the Dream Chaser!

ERAU Students Perform at Chinese New Year Celebration

Happy Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig, from ERAU’s Chinese Program! The date this year is Feb. 5th.

On January 26th, ERAU’s Chinese program, Choirs, and Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter successfully co-organized and performed at the Chinese New Year Gala at the Chandler Center for the Arts. This is the 3rd year in row ERAU presented at the biggest celebration show organized by Eastern Arts Academy for traditional Lunar New Year in the Phoenix and Chandler area. Arizona Senator John Kavanagh, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, a Representative from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, and our own Vice Chancellor Dr. Rhonda Capron attended the event. In addition to over 40 ERAU students, around 20 ERAU student parents, relatives, and Prescott community members were also in attendance.

Sixteen students in Dr. Hong Zhan’s classes and three students from the ERAU Choirs presented a fabulous show. In front of 1,500 people, Ben Robinson, a student in Dr. Zhan’s literature class led a recitation of contemporary poetry, entitled Nostalgia, followed by a very famous Chinese song: Admiring the Ocean. The song was led by three ERAU Choir singers: Rachael Bradshaw, Hannah Bryner, and Rebekah Bryner. Our students’ performance and their high level of Chinese proficiency were highly praised by the show directors and audience members. As one director commented, “when listening to ERAU students reciting poetry, I could not tell that they have foreigner’s accent in their pronunciation.”

Our students had great time at the event, starting with authentic Chinese food supported by Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter. Students enjoyed the Chinese performing arts, and appreciated the opportunity to see how Chinese people organize an event and communicate in real life. This event helped them understand the foundations of Chinese culture.

Thank you to Dr. Matt Haslam, the HU/COM department chair, for supporting transportation to the event. Many thanks to the Project Pengyou Eagle Chapter for providing the funding that allowed students to enjoy authentic Chinese food.

Thanks to Mr. Johnathan McNeely, ERAU Music Coordinator, for directing the song.

Last, but not least, thanks to Dr. Rhonda Capron, our own Vice Chancellor, for attending the event to support our students on site.

Photos provided by engineering student Ken Crawford (a GSIS/Chinese student), Mark Dehoff, and others.

Chloeleen’s Internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The sign right at the entrance to JPL.

During the summer of 2018, I had the privilege to work as an intern at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work at JPL and I got to live it as a part of the Integration and Test team on the Mars Helicopter Project (which will be headed to space on the Mars 2020 mission).

This is a model of the helicopter that was brought out for a presentation at JPL about the project.

You may think “Wow, she must have done a lot to get an internship at JPL!”. However, my resume was as built as any inexperienced college student. One thing to keep in mind is don’t dismiss activities or projects done in high school; an engineering project I did in high school is what caught my JPL mentors’ attention when they decided to contact me for a phone interview.

One my first day, I was extremely overwhelmed because the project was well underway, and I needed to catch up. My mentors were very understanding and welcomed any questions I had throughout my internship. I was tasked with assisting with testing as well as writing procedures for future tests.

Outside the lab where they did the shock testing that I participated in.

Aside from work, JPL held several activities for interns the entire summer, like speaker events, short movie series, and facility tours. My most exciting experiences as an intern were: (1) participating in the NASA Summer Intern Challenge, (2) being interviewed for an article highlighting some projects at JPL, (3) participating and watching any Mars Helicopter test activities.

This picture was taken early on in my internship. This was my original carpool group.

One thing I learned from my experiences at Embry-Riddle is to be patient because hard work and a little luck will pay off. I’ve had some hard semesters where I thought I wouldn’t make it through a class, but I studied hard and got the grade I needed on the finals. The curriculum that was most helpful to me during my internship at JPL was Technical Report Writing. While different JPL projects have their own formatting requirements, I used what I learned to section the procedures I was writing, make sure that the steps were detailed, and ensured that there was enough information for each step with images, callouts, and tables.

This picture is the mission control for space flight operations. It is where NASA’s Deep Space Network is operated. It was named after the former director of JPL, Charles Elachi. The room
right next to this one is the room that JPL broadcasts from for mission landings, like the
Insight Landing that happened in November.

Software Engineering Internship with BendixKing

This past summer I had an internship with BendixKing. To Embry-Riddle students, the name might sound familiar as our King building is named after King Engineering which merged with Bendix a while back. Fun fact: they actually have a picture of the King building hanging up in their lobby.

King Engineering, Prescott Campus

King Engineering, Prescott Campus

At the internship the environment was friendly and within my first week I felt like I had been there forever. My boss told me multiple times ‘we will treat you like a real engineer only we pay you less and you might need help sometimes’.

Now at first this sounds scary and leading up to the internship I was worried that I would not do well; although after that first week I was not worried to fail. Everyone was willing to help me or point me in the direction of someone who could.

Honeywell is BendixKing’s overarching parent company and they are the ones that hosted the interns; which means there were a lot of activities and lessons that they put on for us. One that especially helped me was these online seminars where they talked about all aspects of aviation. We were able tour the Honeywell facilities and get a background into what all they do. Honeywell likes to keep their interns as long as they do well over the summer.

On my last day before I left my internship I was offered a position to return to BendixKing. I will be returning to Albuquerque NM to work for BendixKing as a software engineer. The lessons and methods that I have been taught at Embry-Riddle helped me; the ‘learning how to learn’. I was only able to accomplish this because of what I have learned at Embry-Riddle and through the great connections that they have.

Cyber Defense Club Shines at Department of Energy’s Cyberforce Competition

Embry-Riddle Cyber Defense Club

ERAU’s Cyber Defense Club places 34th out of 80 teams for the Cyberforce competition, the team scored full red team points at half-time and was a favorite team at Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Cyber Defense Club sent 6 members to compete in the Department of Energy’s Cyberforce Competition.

The team was given 2 weeks to prepare a website, mail server, create users, patch vulnerabilities and secure 5 Virtual Machines that were given to them. They had to make the systems usable and work with a miniature oil pump and a raspberry pi cluster made of 4 raspberry pi computers that were given to them the day of the competition.

The team was the only team out of 4 competing teams at Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory that had the Human-Machine Interface, the raspberry pi cluster and the oil pump successfully operating.

Professor Jesse Laeuchli helped the students prepare and attended the competition for assistance with setup for the Raspberry Pi Cluster and the Oil Pump.

The students that helped prepare and compete were:

  • Michaela Adams
  • Dani Chappelle
  • Jacob Henry
  • Andrew Recker
  • Alan Tomaszycki
  • Jessica Wilson

The students acted as a Blue Team and was able to make a working machine for the users of the laboratory, and successfully defend against a red-team of hackers who were attempting to breach the system.

They also got to tour the laboratory and see the full-scale super computer that their miniature Raspberry Pi cluster was modeled after, meet members of the Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory and meet school members from UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara.

The students were given their oil pump and raspberry pi cluster to take home and use to help teach other members of the club and prepare for next years’ competition.

Out of the 4 teams attending Lawrence-Berkeley, the team placed 3/4 teams and nationally they placed 34/80 teams.

Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy debriefed all teams competing in the competition to help show the importance of cybersecurity in our nation and how jobs in cybersecurity are the most-needed job in America right now.

The cyberforce competition is run yearly, and this was Embry-Riddle and the Cyber Defense Clubs’ first attendance of the competition.

For more information, please visit https://cyberforcecompetition.com/

Logan Skurdal’s DRAM Product Engineering Internship with Micron Technology

Over the past two summers I have had the privilege of interning at Micron Technology, a world leader in innovative memory solutions, in my home town Boise, Idaho. Let’s just say there is a reason I went back a second time – working there is awesome!

During my internship I was a DRAM Product Engineer working on designing test programs and gathering component-level data to detect errors and debug DRAM modules. The techniques and application of many design tactics and programming practices that I have learned over my first three years at Embry-Riddle helped me immensely during this time. For example, my knowledge of circuit theory from my Linear Circuits course and lab directly translated to a quick understanding of a DRAM module and what to look for when one of the modules wasn’t passing tests. In addition, my classes in coding (such as C and MATLAB) helped me quickly pick up Python, the language I used over the summer to develop and contribute to programs already being used throughout the department.

Picture of myself (middle), my supervisor (left), and mentor (right) down in our lab.

Work at Micron was also made much easier by the great group of people I was surrounded by each day. Over a simple 3 month period (6 months including last internship) I met multiple people who I still keep in contact with today and genuinely treasure as some of my good friends. A couple of times a month we would all get together and play board games and simply have a great time. Along with getting to work on some great and emerging technology, these connections with my coworkers are a reason why I highly recommend Micron as a place for anybody to work at and/or get an internship for a fantastic summer!

Jumping in to an internship can be a scary experience. However, I can honestly say I was well prepared through the help of my coursework from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I am look forwarding to learning as much as I can my last year here at ERAU so I can be the best engineer possible!

Picture of all the interns at Micron for summer 2018

Holly Ross’ Internship with Micron Technology

At the beginning of my freshman year at Embry-Riddle, my goal was to study computer engineering with a focus on cyber security.  As my education progressed, my focus shifted, and I instead became increasingly interested in working for private companies to develop new technologies.  Classes like Digital Circuits, Microprocessors and Operating Systems taught me how to solve complex problems using both hardware and software solutions.  My coursework at school also taught me invaluable lessons about troubleshooting code and circuits and approaching problems from many different directions.

This past summer I interned with Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho.  Micron is a semiconductor company that produces memory devices such as dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and flash memory as well as solid state drives.  My job as an intern was to develop software to improve the testing of Micron’s DRAM products.  In this job I was required to learn two new computer coding languages, and the specifics of how DRAM operates.  While the task of learning two new languages sounds daunting, my courses in learning computer languages at Embry-Riddle prepared me, and I was very successful in writing the code for my internship.  My courses in circuit theory and design gave me the necessary background information I needed to learn about how DRAM operates.

Picture of myself (left) and my coworker (right) and the cubicle we shared.

While I am not allowed to discuss the specifics of the work I performed for Micron, my studies at Embry-Riddle fully prepared me for all the tasks I was given in my internship.  The technology I worked with at Embry-Riddle was up to industry standards which allowed me to quickly integrate into my work environment.  My successes at Micron Technology can largely be attributed to the foundation my studies have provided and I am very thankful for the experiences I have had at Embry-Riddle.

Picture of all the interns at Micron for Summer 2018.