AEM Exhibits at the CSE Expo
Over 2,000 middle school students came to campus on Friday, April 25, 2014, for the first-ever "CSE Expo," which included more than 50 STEM exhibits, mostly hosted by CSE student groups. James Flaten from the MN Space Grant Consortium and Brian Taylor from the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) lab organized AEM-related exhibits on high-altitude ballooning, high-power rocketry, and UAVs in the Akerman Hangar.
The high-altitude ballooning exhibit featured an inflated weather balloon supporting a 2-D array of temperature sensors used to study the thermal wake below such a balloon during ascent, and a sensor payload with cameras and Arduino-logged sensors to characterize flight conditions. This payload also carried a miniature Goldy Gopher to about 95,000 feet during a flight to "near-space" on April 12. This activity was done by the all-freshman CSE 1002 Project-Based Inquiry class.
The high-powered rocketry exhibit featured a 7-foot-long high-power rocket built by another all-freshman team. This rocket was built for the Space Grant Midwest Regional High-Power Rocketry Competition, which later that same day drew teams to Akerman from as far away as Ohio. The freshman rocket, called "Redshift 7," flew safely to just over 3,000 feet the following day on a K-motor at the Tripoli MN Rocketry launch site near North Branch, MN.
The UAV exhibit featured a fixed-wing aircraft from the UAV lab as well as a quadrotor built by a senior design team of students. The UAVs are used as surrogates for full-scale airplanes to research and develop technologies that make future commercial aircraft safer and more fuel efficient. The UAV lab also works with researchers from other departments and state agencies to facilitate UAV adoption and to establish best practices in industrial applications, such as precision agriculture. The UAVs displayed have over 200 hundred research flights accumulated; more information is available from the UAV lab website at: uav.aem.umn.edu.