BU’s ANDESITE Team Earns Second Place, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Student Paper Competition

in ME Student Experience, NEWS, Spotlight Student, Students

Submitted by: Hannah Levin ME ’18

A few weeks ago, three representatives from Boston University’s ANDESITE small satellite team earned second place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Region I Student Paper Competition. ANDESITE is a project overseen by Professor Brian Walsh (ME) as part of his Space Technologies Lab. The project is a small satellite – a shoebox-sized device meant to have the capabilities of a larger satellites while being cheaper and faster to produce – meant to study magnetic currents in the Auroras. It contains eight small deployables called sensor nodes, each of which is outfitted with a magnetometer, a sensor that measures magnetic fields. Once ANDESITE reaches its orbit, the sensor nodes are deployed, and they each take independent measurements of magnetic currents at different points in space, allowing us to learn about the differentials in magnetic fields that cause the Northern Lights.

ANDESITE is now completely designed, machined, assembled, and ready for launch. In order to conclude and document all the work that has gone into making it, three members of the ANDESITE team – Hannah Levin (ME 2018), the project’s structures lead, Phillip Teng (CE 2019), the project’s hardware lead, and Sergei Posnov (EE 2019), the project’s software lead – wrote a paper summarizing ANDESITE’s mission goal, design, and testing. They entered their paper, “Multipoint Magnetic Field Measurements: A Scientific Oriented CubeSat Constellation”, into the AIAA competition, where students across the northeast region submitted papers on the research and projects they have participated in. They also presented on their paper at the AIAA regional conference along with the other competitors. Ultimately, the judges awarded them second place out of the 15 teams in their category.

It was an amazing opportunity to be able to share our work with others, and incredibly validating to have it be recognized like this. As a senior, this was the best way to end my years working on the ANDESITE team that I can think of!