Date of Last Revision

2023-05-03 12:52:48


Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2019


The following report has been completed over the course of the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters at The University of Akron by Joseph P. Stack (Aerospace Systems Engineering), Thomas J. Wheeler (Mechanical Engineering) and Zachary M. Williams (Mechanical Engineering). The purpose of this project was to create a payload system for the Akronauts Rocket Design Team to use at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) Spaceport America Cup. The Competition as a challenge that is sponsored by Space Dynamics Laboratory specifically regarding payload systems. The challenge in very open-ended and allows student to identify their own scientific experiment and design it to a form that can fit in the launch vehicle.

The team chose to model the experiment for the Senior Design and Honors Research project at UA. The project is an autonomous UAV that deploys from the launch vehicle during descent, flies to a nearby body of water, collects a water sample, and flies back to base camp. This is modeled after a NASA mission planned for 2025 that will send a quadcopter to Saturn’s moon Titan. The team scaled down the mission objectives for the sake of prototyping and will focus on the autonomous flight and the sample collection.

Several vehicle options and sample types were considered in the early design phase. Ultimately a quadcopter that can obtain a water sample via a small DC pump and nylon tubing. The UAV will have a 3D printed body with a variety of off-the-shelf components that are compatible with software packages that the team has access to.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Francis Loth

First Reader

Dr. Ajay Mahajan

Second Reader

Joseph Beck



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