Senior Capstone: Asteria 

By Zoe Crain
Copy Editor 

Team members: Zoe Crain, Madison Padilla, James Wigton, Murtuza Lemonwala, Zachary Gibbons, Alan Davis, Nathanael dePutter, Joshua Pearson, Sierra Dryer, Joseph Guest, and Nicholas Mallott 

One of the four AE Astro capstone projects is being completed by Team Asteria, who operate under Project Manager Zoe Crain and are working on Project Hera. Crain’s team is in Spacecraft Detail Design (AE 445) with Dr. Julio Benavides this semester. 

Hera is designed to be an autonomous landing system consisting of a ground station, an ascent vehicle, and a descent vehicle. The descent vehicle (the main system in the project) is meant to preserve a delicate payload during a fast descent from high altitudes. The project was originally intended to be a preservation system in the event of a plane crash or failed rocket launch. The descent vehicle should pilot itself to a pre-determined location. 

The project was originally proposed by members of Dr. Benavides’ capstone class in the fall semester, and selected by Dr. Benavides to be a viable project idea.  

However, the project itself has proved to have one huge discrepancy. “Our biggest difficulty this semester has definitely been our need to use another team’s design to lift our system,” said Crain. Asteria is using a previous team’s design, a massive hexacopter, to lift their descent vehicle to altitude during testing. “The problem with Team Ascension’s design is literally everything,” said Crain ruefully. “We’ve basically had two projects this entire time, because we had to fix all of Ascension’s mistakes.” 

At this point, however, Asteria has completed their project: for better or worse. “Apollo [the hexacopter] is absolutely destroyed,” reports Crain. “It worked perfectly during a flight test until it hit 65 meters in the air. Then, the flight controller stopped working completely for some reason and it hit the ground at about 80 miles an hour.” Needless to say, Asteria is unable to complete their flight tests for their descent vehicle. 

But the experience hasn’t been all bad. “The most exciting thing about this project is literally that we were even able to get as far as we did,” Crain said. “We fixed one capstone project, plus built our own from scratch. Being able to come into another team’s design blind and still manage to integrate it with your own is extremely difficult, and I am beyond proud of our ability to do it.” 

Finally, Crain notes, “Astro projects are a ridiculous amount of work. Dr. Benavides has done an incredible job of emulating industry standards, but that means Astro teams design an entire system from nothing. Because of this, we had to do research into information way outside our comfort zones, like EE and SE materials.” 

Asteria would like to thank Dr. Benavides, Dr. Bradley Wall, and Dr. Stephen Bruder for the innumerable hours they have put into helping the team understand concepts far beyond the scope of the class. 

Editors Note: Zoe Crain is a copy-editor of Horizons and quotes herself. This is not ethicial.

Featured Features

Senior Capstone – WiPowT 

By: Zoe Crain
Copy Editor 

One of the two CE/SE/EE detail teams is led by Kristina Landen. Landen’s team’s name is WiPowT: an acronym for Wireless Power Transmission. WiPowT’s primary advisor is Professor Dennis Kodimer, with a secondary advisor being Dr. Ed Post.

The course names and numbers are SE451 Software Team Project 2 and EE421 Senior Capstone, as Landen’s team is a blended SE/EE team. 

Landen’s team consists of four members; herself, Michael Buck, EE, Christina Openshaw, SE, and Paloma Symmonds, SE.

The team is proving the feasibility of wireless power transfer for the potential commercial application of in-flight drone charging. 

WiPowT has two forms. Each has a coil and a loop made from magnetic wire that are separated by an air gap.

Power is transferred from one form to the other across the air gap. Says Landen, “Imagine your wireless phone charger, but lift your phone a few inches. That’s what we’re doing.” 

The project idea was presented by the team’s industry sponsor, Dialog Semiconductors. The project was pitched in the hopes for Dialog to advance in a developing industry (wireless charging) that was still related to Dialog’s primary industry, the construction of power devices. 

The biggest difficulty faced by WiPowT this semester, says Landen, is definitely the learning curve. “This is an EE heavy project, with a team composed of 75 percent SEs.

We have all had to learn a lot regarding basic EE concepts, as well as the theory needed to understand inductive resonant coupling, the theoretical principle behind our project.” 

As of halfway through April, the team has constructed proof-of-concept prototype forms which contain a coil and a loop.

There are three different sizes for each; 10 cm, 15 cm, and 20 cm. These different sizes will allow the team to measure power transfer and efficiencies between symmetric and asymmetric designs. 

The team also has a number of physical and circuit simulations in NL5, ElectroMagneticWorks with SolidWorks, and ANSYS Maxwell.

The simulations allow WiPowT to simulate their physical system and obtain physical results without ever powering on the system itself. 

In order to finish their project, WiPowT still needs to complete a full power-on test before their symposium presentation.

They also need to finish obtaining values from ANSYS to conclude their simulations.

And of course, they must finalize all their documentation to release into their Configuration Management Library. 

At the end of the day, WiPowT is most excited by the fact that their project has allowed them to integrate hardware and software concepts into a working physical product. 

WiPowT would like to thank their advisors, Prof. Kodimer and Dr. Post, in addition to Jim Weber, Dr. Davis, Dr. Sulyman, Dr. Beck, Jeff Hiatt, Patrick David, Ryan Sutton, Dr. Hayashibara, and Dan Kowalsky for their continued support throughout the completion of the project. Without them, WiPowT would not be where they are today. 

Senior Designs

Surveillance Drone designed by team Vision UAV 

By: Russ Chapman

Team Members: Matthew Simpson, Kaitlin Shroll, Cassie Freeman, Bjorn Vasenden, Ryan Hom, Raymond Wang, Yared Assefa, Kaila Romero, May Maginde 

Preliminary design team, Vision UAV, is designing a surveillance drone under the guidance of Professor Zwick.

The team’s mission was provided for them at the start of the semester by Professor Zwick and the team has worked to rise to the challenge.  

Team Lead Matthew Simpson described the premise of the project. The mission of the unmanned aerial vehicle is to be capable of flying three hundred miles within a six-hour period.

The design also needs to be compact enough to be transported to the launch location in the bed of a pickup truck.  

The greatest challenge overcome by Vision UAV thus far in the process has been designing a model that would be suitable to build and test in a wind tunnel.

The team has completed the initial design phase and is now progressing to more detailed analysis and considerations. 

The next steps for the team is to finalize a design for the aircraft in regard to the current structural and assembly considerations for testing of the scale model.

Then the team will be able to test and analyze wind tunnel and structural data that will be integral to the construction of the scaled down half-size model that will be assembled and flown next semester. 

Team lead Simpson spoke for the team explaining its excitement to have to opportunity to fully design, build, and then fly and aircraft of their own creation.

It is hard to pick one aspect of the project that has excited them most, but the scope of the project completed is quite satisfying. 

The team extends good luck and encouragement to other future design teams. Team lead Simpson said, “It really shows just how much you actually do learn at this university and it just makes all of the hard work worthwhile.” A sentiment all engineering students can get excited about. 

Finally, Vision UAV would like to that Professor Zwick and Dr. Haslam for guiding the team every step of the way.

The team also thanks the College of Engineering for the education and the opportunity to participate in such a project as well as its faculty for their assistance in learning and in the project.  

Senior Designs

UAS Capstone Combines Research and Real World Experience for Students 

By: Sean Hernandez
News Correspondent 

The UAS senior capstone course known as AS 475: UAS Mission Execution provides practical field experience for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) students with an emphasis on operating UAS in support of actual commercial or civil operations in the surrounding area.

The work the students do isn’t focused on one single project, throughout the semester they’re given multiple missions to conduct. 

One of these groups is known as the “Railroad Group” which includes students Eric Osmundson, Trevis Shiroma, Jiyoung Hwang, Nicholas Zweifel, and Sean Hernandez.

Though they have more than one project in the works, one project they are working on involves more research rather than delivering a final product to the customer.

Osmundson and his team are researching the best approach to integrate UAS into railroad inspection. 

The group has been considering two specific parts that they believe can be integrated into the current system. If UAS can be used to inspect the geometry and gage of rail road and if it can be used to do visual inspections of tracks.

The teams’ biggest problem has been finding information on UAS being used for inspection railroads. This is truly a market that the UAS industry hasn’t reached yet.

The group has completed their research on inspection of the geometry and gage of the track and is currently working on finding information to determine how useful UAS can be to do visual inspection of tracks. The group has also been working with SJ Homes to see if UAS can be used to help with construction planning.  

Osmundson mentions that one of the exciting aspects of the work him and his team have been doing is learning about other industries and seeing all the applications for UAS in those industries.

Any time the question of whether UAS can be applied to an industry or not the team has had to gain extensive knowledge on how the industry currently works to see if there is in fact a feasible application.   

Osmundson and his team would like to thank All American Track and SJ Homes for taking time out of their busy schedules to work with them and teach them things about the industries they work in.

They would also like to thank professor Johnny Young for providing connections with local businesses who wanted to work with University’s UAS students. 

The Railroad group is excited to be presenting their findings and final products from working with All American Track and from working with SJ Homes. They will be presenting with the rest of the College of Aviation in the Stem Building on April 27. 

Senior Design Senior Designs

CE/SE/EE Detail Team – Transit

By Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor

Team Members: Andrew Sverdrup, Kolten Leffler, Robert Velarde, Josh Hammes 

The Transit team is one of two CE/SE/EE teams on campus. Lead by Andrew Sverdrup, the team has focused on working with their industry sponsor, ACSS, to design a solution for sending flight log data to data centers to be processed. What this entails is that the flight data is captured by the pilot’s iPad and stored until all of the data has been received. Then, the data is uploaded to a data center in the cloud where analysis can be run. This process hopes to assist in the development of more efficient flight patterns, and make flying more affordable.  

The project idea stemmed from their sponsor, ACSS, who kept detailed logs of flight data but had no convenient means of obtaining the data without sending someone out to each plane. From that, the company wanted to look ways to easily access the data.  

Over the two semesters, the team faced a few challenges. “Our biggest difficulty has been planning time to meet and work as a group around our busy senior schedules,” said team lead Sverdrup. Despite that, the team has been able to work through the core phases of the project. This includes creating an iPad app that receives and securely sends data to the cloud, a flight data simulator to test the app, and a database/webserver that receives flight data, processes it, and generates necessary charts.  

With that, the group is left working on writing tests and documentation, along with developing some extra features. When asked about what was the most exciting aspect of the project, Sverdrup remarked, “The potential to take flight data from thousands of individual flights and perform data analysis on it to make flying safer and more affordable is very exciting.” 

Transit would like to thank ACSS for recommending the idea to them, and their faculty advisor, Dr. Davis, who helped them understand aviation terms they came across and answering any questions they had. Along with that, they thank Dr. Post, Dr. Siewert, and Dr. Van Hilst for providing helpful and detailed feedback during their design reviews.  


UAS Capstone Provides Real World Experience for Students 

By: Sean Hernandez
News Correspondent 

The UAS senior capstone course known as AS 475: UAS Mission Execution is wrapping up its first semester outside of the experimental phase.

The course provides practical field experience for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) students with an emphasis on operating UAS in support of actual commercial or civil operations in the surrounding area.

There are two separate groups working on projects for this capstone course. Their work isn’t focused on one single project, throughout the semester they’re given multiple missions to conduct. 

One of these groups is known as the “Bagdad Group” which includes students Dakota Freshman, Tyler Summerlin, Grady Roth, and Chasen Newland. They aren’t in any type detail or prelim with their work.

Once they are given an assignment by the customer, they design a mission to meet their needs, execute the mission, and create a final product to deliver to the customer.  

Their first project had them working with a biologist to survey the Bridle Creek Riparian Habitat in Bagdad, Ariz. The team’s biggest difficulty this semester with the Bagdad project was time.

The class time is once a week for five hours but on average it takes an hour and a half one way to reach the habitat.

Currently the only product the group has made involved using EO cameras to recreate a 3D render of the habitat to identify erosion.

The group plans to go out one last time with an improved mission using a longer endurance aircraft and a multispectral camera to identify areas of poor vegetation.  

The group also worked with Nexus Southwest, a local surveying company, to survey a property and see how UAS can be utilized in that industry. Not every mission is clear cut.

Some of these businesses are considering UAS solutions for the first time and are looking to the students of this course to point them in the right direction on how to implement drones into their business. 

“I really enjoyed how dynamic this class has been so far. It is different when you learn about something in class, but then you have to apply it in the real world.

I think this class has pushed me and my teammates to be better pilots and has taught us a lot about using drones in real life situations,” Dakota mentioned. “It will be a lot of fun to finally show what we have accomplished and what we can do after we graduate.” 

The team would like to thank the UAS capstone professor, Johnny Young for providing connections with local businesses who wanted to work with University’s UAS students.

They would also like to thank Dusty Eiker, the biologist they worked with in Bagdad, and Adam Haywood, their contact with Nexus Southwest.

Dakota also would like to thank the other members of his team, “They are all hardworking individuals and the project would not have come out as good as it has without them.” 

The Bagdad group is excited to be presenting their final products from working in the Bridle Creek Riparian Habitat and from working with Nexus Southwest.

They will be presenting with the rest of the College of Aviation in the Stem Building on April 27. 


Featured Senior Designs

Capstone: S.A.R.G.E. 

By Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

Team members: Jacqueline Worley, Garrison Bybee, Morgan Garone, Grayson Lynch, Chad Abramson Jr., Sara El Baissi, Riley Griffin, Mathew Todd 

One of the two ME-Robotics projects this year is the Search and Rescue Ground Explorer, otherwise known as S.A.R.G.E. Lead by Jacqueline Worley, the team set off to create an autonomous ground vehicle that can assist in search and rescue missions by providing supplies and leading able survivors to safety.  

This concept was put forth when the entire team wanted to work on something in relation to search and rescue. Along with that, they wanted to base their idea off of the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, which is a competition that competes autonomous ground vehicles in several difficult challenges. When asked what the most difficult part of the project was, Worley remarked, “Lots of team drama and arguments and design decision meshing,” were the main issues they ran into.  

With the semester wrapping up, the team has nearly completed their mechanical subsystem and testing the software subsystem. However, work on the electrical subsystem is still being done. Once the systems are complete, the group plans to go through integration and testing of the robot.  

When asked about what made the project exciting, Worley commented that, “Getting to see the vehicle move and getting feedback from the Yavapai Search and Rescue teams,” were the most exciting. Along with that, the team is looking forward to their project’s competition and, subsequently, the implementation of S.A.R.G.E. in different environments.  

As a final note, members of the S.A.R.G.E. team would like to thank Dr. Iacopo Gentilini, Professor Richard Mangum, the Undergraduate Research Institute (URI), the College of Engineering (COE), Jim Weber, Jeff Hyatt, Ernest Stokesberry, and Patrick David for lending a hand to their project’s success.  


Capstone: Team Impulse  

By Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

Team Members: Eric Trevenna, Matthew Andrews, Sarrah Bramblett, Michael Calivas, Parker Duncan, Shaban Gakere, Tyler Green 

Team Impulse is one of the three ME-Propulsion teams for this year. Lead by Eric Trevenna, the team has been working on building a cold gas thruster that produces about five to ten pounds-force worth of thrust. The project concept itself was developed by Dr. Brenda Haven and recommended to the team at the start of Preliminary Design.  

When asked what the biggest difficulty the group has faced, Trevenna remarked that, “It was getting our design pressure at the nozzle entrance. Our regulator is not able to get a high enough pressure through the system to our nozzle.” Despite this though, the team was able to design and fabricate their system.  

With the build portion of their project complete, the group just needs to go through their testing phase now. With the testing phase, the team hopes to confirm that their theoretical calculations matches up with their experimentation results. By doing this, the design would be considered a success. As the semester wraps up, Trevenna remarked that, “The most exciting part of this project has been testing our system and watching it work.”  

Team Impulse would like to thank the staff and faulty who helped them design and build their cold gas thruster, including Dr. Murat Okcay, Dr. Michael Fabian, Dr. Matt Haslam, and Dr. Elliott Bryner.  

Featured Features

Spring Music Concert Brings Spring Cheer 

By: Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

On the calm breezy night of Apr. 15, students, faculty and friends arrived at the Davis Learning Center (DLC) for the annual Spring Concert hosted by the Eagle Music Club.

The concert featured nearly all of the groups that are a part of Eagle Music Club, including Wind Ensemble, String Quartet, Women’s Chorale, and A Capella Choir.

The only group not included, the Swingin’ Eagles Jazz Band, had their own concert on Apr. 21.  

The night started off with the Wind Ensemble, who played songs that originated from the British Isles.

The group started off strong with a sky-high piece reminiscent of a plane in flight.

To accompany their tunes, the band had a projector behind them with images that highlighted the songs they were playing.

Once the ensemble had performed their three songs, the String Quartet followed.

A benefit of the Eagle Music Club is that it allows all students of different backgrounds and experience levels to play the instrument of their choosing, and all members played their best and enjoyed the experience on stage.  

Following the quartet was the Women’s Chorale. Since the Women’s Chorale performed at the International Festival back in March, they brought back one of their songs from that performance.

The four women sang a total of two songs and joined the A Capella Choir to finish out the night.

The vocals-only choir sang more songs inspired by the British Isles, then invited drummer Alex Lubiarz and bass player Calvin Shum for their final song.  

In the end, coordinators of the event were proud of its success. Eagle Music Club Vice President Jacob Keeley commented that “The Spring Concert was fantastic. You can really tell just how passionate our musicians are, and how hard they work to make a lasting impression on everyone who attends.”  


Team Eagle Eye designing a new eye in the sky 

By Russ Chapman

Team Members: Chase Bilyou, Scott Bragg, Zach Graeber, Emily Parker, Saravanan R, Megan Riley, David Sanders, Joshua Warshaw, Kyle West 

Team Eagle Eye is an aero preliminary design team working on designing a complex surveillance drone. The premise of the project was presented by Dr. Zwick to the team at the beginning of the semester and assigned to them.  

The project had a very specific mission in mind. Team lead, Megan Riley, described the mission parameters. The team is designing a long range drone to survey a gas pipeline that runs from Tucson, Ariz., to El Paso Texas.  

The purpose of the drone is to be a compact modular design that can be transported in the bed of a pickup truck to the launch location. The aircraft is then to be assembled and launched and should be able to survey the entire pipeline on one flight to look for security risks. If accomplished the drone design would be safer, and more cost efficient than the company’s current method of surveying the pipeline. 

The team’s greatest challenge this semester has been coordinating times to meet with all the members. Managing the schedules of nine senior engineering students made it very hard to find times when the entire team would be available to meet. 

However, the team did find its stride and has accomplished much this semester. Team Lead Megan Riley commented on their progress, “We have completed the preliminary design phase which involves creating the complete design for the aircraft. All sizing for wings, fuselage, tail, etc has been completed, and all payload components have been selected.” 

Next order of business for the team is to assemble a testing model to be analyzed in a wind tunnel as well as for structural integrity. Once the analysis has been completed and the design finalized the team will build a half-scale model to be flown next December. Riley mentioned being excited for the team moving forward. She looks forward to the manufacturing phase of the project. The success of manufacturing will be a good demonstration of the quality of the preliminary design.  

The team would like to thank Professor Zwick and Dr. Haslam for their continued guidance in the project. They would also like to thank Dr. Morris, Dr. Helbling, Dr. Traub, and Dr. Bordignon for their expertise and assistance in overcoming obstacles the team encountered.

Featured Features