By Liz Sheeley
An interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students took home second prize for a research paper at the regional American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Conference in April 2018. The three students, Hannah Levin (ME), Phillip Teng (CE) and Sergei Posnov (EE), are all part of the ANDESITE research team at BU.
Their winning paper, “Multipoint Magnetic Field Measurements: A Science-Oriented, University 6U CubeSat Constellation,” was accompanied by a presentation and judged by aerospace professionals from the Northeast.
“It was wonderful to be at their presentation to see them shine,” says Associate Professor Sheryl Grace, the faculty advisor for the BU Student chapter of AIAA. “They gave a polished talk and conveyed a deep understanding of their work. While the competition was tough, I was sure they would receive one of the awards.”
ANDESITE’s mission is to create a space-based wireless sensor network of small satellites called CubeSats that will take multiple magnetic field readings in the auroras to further understand the interaction of the solar wind with Earth’s space environment. Having a more accurate, up-to-date picture of the fluctuating magnetic field can help mitigate the possible negative effects created by solar weather. Levin, Teng and Posnov were the student team leaders for the final design and testing of the CubeSats. Their paper describes the mechanical and electrical systems in ANDESITE and details its operational metrics. Following many years of research and development, ANDESITE is scheduled to launch later this year with the help of NASA.
“The research depth and extent presented in the paper is impressive given that the students are undergraduates,” says Grace. “This is a testament to the effort and capability of both the students and their research advisors Professor Brian Walsh and Professor Josh Semeter.”