I led a team of ten students at the University of Florida to submit an annual proposal to NASA’s Microgravity University for a flight experiment. Our team recognized a need for small-scale actuators to deploy solar panels on a CubeSat without introducing unstable vibrations. In support of this need, we developed a scaled over-center latch mechanism for rigid solar panel deployment. Our proposal was accepted in the fall of 2013, and our team was sponsored by NASA for a microgravity flight!
After completing an extensive structural and safety analysis, we designed and manufactured a model CubeSat, prototype latch, rotating test bed, and protective cover. We flew the experiment on NASA’s “Weightless Wonder” in June of 2014.
We experienced last-minute electrical failures that required us to quickly adjust our data-collection method. We recovered enough data to perform a simple vibrations analysis. The data and conclusions are presented in the final report.
I gained the following skills by working on this project:
- Design concept generation
- Project management
- SolidWorks modeling
- Structural analysis