Industry & Projects

Violet Nanosatellite Project (August 2014-May 2016)

Space Systems Design Studio, Cornell University, Overseen by Dr. Mason Peck

Integrated Violet Satellite, May 2016.

From Fall 2014 to Spring 2016, I was one of the leaders of the Violet Nanosatellite Project Team at Cornell University. Our mission was to design, build, and launch a high agility spacecraft to the International Space Station, using novel control moment gyroscopes to achieve advanced slews, or 'tumbling' maneuvers. While I was on the team, I was the lead of the harness subsystem and a co-lead of the integration and testing subsystem. As harness sub-team lead, I was responsible for the re-design, assembly, integration and test of all spacecraft wiring, which served as the satellite's electrical 'skeleton'. I also re-designed harness elements to solve connectivity problems and to enable different subsystem components to effectively function and interact. The harness assembly and integration process required extensive planning and utilized creative strategies for the effective packaging of all wires. The production of the harnesses contributed to my knowledge regarding the interdependence of Violet's subsystems. Furthermore, I not only gained a system-level understanding of the spacecraft, but also knowledge regarding the individual subsystems themselves -- attitude control, power, command & data handling, structures and communications to name a few -- separated from the larger spacecraft framework.

I was also the co-lead of the Integration & Test subsystem, where I developed the spacecraft's test campaign and integration build flow. The test campaign consists of system-level 'Checkouts' testing of individual satellite components to ensure their functionality. These tests focused on powering each satellite component on/off and verifying basic communication pathways (sending commands/receiving telemetry) between each component and Violet's flight computer. The build flow consisted of a step-by-step guide detailing exactly how the spacecraft should be assembled. While I was in these positions on the Violet team, I led small groups of 2-5 undergraduate students to ensure all subsystem responsibilities were completed in a timely manner.

SpaceX: Production Intern (May 2016-August 2016)

Hawthorne, California

Dragon capsule in orbit (CRS-5). Image courtesy of SpaceX.

In the summer of 2016, I was a production intern at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. I worked on the Dragon Flight Systems Integration & Test team, where my main role was to support the automation of the Dragon capsule's test campaign. To accomplish this, I developed test plans (procedures) for a variety of spacecraft components, including transmitters & receivers, communication lines, and other internal avionics. I specifically focused on Dragon's communication system, where I designed & carried out insertion loss and power tests for different RF (radio frequency) systems. I then wrote scripts in Python to autonomously carry out those test plans, which will be run on the flight vehicle in the production process. During my 3-month tenure, I wrote these test plans and test scripts in support of the CRS-11 Dragon mission to the International Space Station, which successfully launched on June 3, 2017.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: Mechanical Design Intern (June 2015-August 2015)

Greenbelt, Maryland

Rendering of BETTII. Image courtesy of NASA Goddard.

In the summer of 2015, I worked as a mechanical design intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. My role was to design ground support equipment and flight enclosures for BETTII (Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry). I designed the ground support equipment using SolidWorks, and I machined (by hand using mill/lathe) and built the structure using 80/20 aluminum. The A-frame structure was responsible for holding BETTII's 'cold bench', or cryogenic electronics module, during optical testing. Since this module will reside within a dewar upon flight next fall, it will only be supported from above. As a result, I simulated the unique, in-flight loading conditions to ensure the functionality of my design. After structural testing and design verification, my ground support equipment was used during BETTII's optical testing campaign in 2016. Furthermore, I also developed electronics enclosures for BETTII's delay lines. These mechanisms are responsible for maintaining the incidence between two incoming beams of light collected by high-precision mirrors (siderostats). Finally, I improved LabView code used for delay line feedback control, and the PCBs responsible for delay line actuation.

Custom ground support equipment designed for optical testing of BETTII's cryogenic, internal electronics infrastructure, August 2015.

Sumo-Bot Project, MAE 3780 (Mechatronics), Cornell University (Fall 2015)

Competition Battle Robot (Sumo-Bot) for MAE 3780 (Mechatronics) at Cornell University.

In the fall of 2015, I built a battle robot (sumo-bot) as a final project for Mechatronics (MAE 3780) at Cornell University. The goal of this robot was to compete in a round-robin "sumo-wrestling" competition, where student-designed, autonomous robots "fight" in a small arena. The goal of this competition was to develop a robot capable of pushing opponents out of the competition ring. This robot used a variety of different sensors to enable its functionality, including QTI sensors (optical sensors to detect the competition arena) and sonar sensors (for opponent detection). Our robot also used an active 'flipper' element activated by mouse traps to potentially disable, or simply overturn opponents. The robot was coded in C, and utilized an Arduino microcontroller. To control the wheels, we used two continuous rotation servos and two MOSFET H-bridge circuits. To select the optimal wheels for competition, we conducted a trade study comparing our robot's pushing force versus a variety of wheel radii. The robot's frame was machined using 6061-T6 aluminum, and weighed just under 3 pounds. Our frame design also provided the structural durability needed for "battle" while permitting the easy integration of all robot components. Our robot, nicknamed 'Stuart', finished 3rd in the final competition (out of ~50 robots). A video of our robot in action can be found below.

Our three-person robot team (Corinne Kenwood, Ethan Kramer, David Levine), and our robot, 'Stuart', after the Fall 2015 competition in Duffield Atrium, Cornell University.

Open Design Project, MAE 2250 (Mechanical Synthesis), Cornell University (Spring 2015)

In the spring of 2015, I designed a 3-D printed consumer product as a project for MAE 2250 (Mechanical Synthesis) at Cornell University. I worked with a group of three other sophomore undergraduates to select a specific design problem we wanted to solve, iterate through different design ideas, and then prototype, test, and market our final product. We decided to create a device for students to help hold open heavy textbooks. Named 'Book 'em', our product was manufactured using an Objet 3-D printer. After we our created an initial prototype, we improved our design after determining metrics for customer safety and performance. We presented our design in a final review at the end of the course. Our reveal video can be found below.

Final 'Book' em' prototype, circa Spring 2015. Photo courtesy of Brittney Chew.