College of Engineering (COE)

Date of Last Revision

2020-05-05 10:40:09


Mechanical Engineering

Honors Course

Honors Project in Mechanical Engineering

Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2020


The objective of this study was to design a solar powered, unmanned aircraft to orbit in the upper Venus atmosphere and search for signs of alien life. Topics of flight conditions, signs of life, basic mission plan, source of power, design process, instrumentation, and final designs are covered. Solar energy is ideal for this type of mission because it is the only reliable and abundant energy source accessible for long term space travel. The target altitude, being 60 to 70 km, has winds of up to 95 m/s. The aircraft will need to remain stable under such conditions. Due to the high winds that the aircraft must overcome, the mission may be limited to 3 days on exclusively solar power. Other methods are explored to prolong the longevity of the mission.

Research Sponsor

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration

First Reader

Dr. D. Dane Quinn

Second Reader

Dr. Scott Sawyer

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. Shao Wang



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