Space Based Applications

    In June of 1996 I joined the team at the Center for Aerospace Technology (CAST) Weber State University under the student work-study program in which I was enrolled during two years of my college career. To begin with I would like to explain the CAST program and the role of its commercial technology transfer company One Stop Satellite Solutions (OSSS). 

  
As the universities' only research and development program, CAST’s primary directive from the university was to provide students enrolled in the universities’ college of applied science and technology in the degrees of Design, Electronics, Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science Technologies with senior project opportunities in space based technology applications. To fund the CAST program the University set up a technology transfer company, One Stop Satellite Solutions, or OSSS. OSSS's  primary role was to provide a vehicle to promote and bring to market the research and development of products such as sensors and reaction wheels from the CAST organizations R&D efforts. The university held the patents for these product developments for which the royalties of these sales then went to fund activities with CAST. 


    Although my primary responsibility to CAST was as a mechanical designer for the design of tooling, fixtures, test equipment, and flight article hardware for space based applications on small satellite projects, I was involved heavily in other project aspects. 

    These opportunities quickly lead to the expansion of my role in the organization to include extensive hands on training in multiple engineering disciplines. Under the tutelage of my employer, community volunteer engineers, and my colleagues, I studied and worked to produce vital engineering solutions in the fields of Mechanical Design Engineering, Research and Development, Systems Engineering, Process, Fabrication, and Quality Control and developed my understanding of engineering principles, standards and practices.

    During this time I was tasked on a regular basis as a result of my primary roll as mechanical designer to research designs and develop models. I performed engineering computations and analysis (under the supervision and direction of our mechanical engineering staff), prepared work orders for fabrication of parts, (usually fabricated by my self and an assistant) and wrote detailed notes for fabrication and assembly instructions. Although primary modeling and detailing was done with Auto Desk Mechanical Desktop, I and other colleagues modeled our constructs in I-Deas on a regular basis for computer FEA and orbit thermal analysis.

    With the help of my assistant I then fabricated my designs involving tooling, and fixtures, test equipment and high tolerance flight article components. These components included reaction wheels, electronics enclosures, deployable mechanisms, sensors, solar panel systems, mounting fixtures and structural frames for use on the satellite projects I was involved in using various materials, primarily aluminum. 
  
After completing the fabrication I was directly responsible for quality inspection and assisted in subsequent integration of parts into various applications including assembly and testing facilities and space craft structure. 
I also participated in writing requirments and specifications as they related to the interface of connectors and mechanical components of my designs, as well as test procedures and other documentation and participated in carrying out the testing phase of the projects on several occasions. 

   I was named documentation’s officer for the organization when it became apparent to my employer that the drawings and documentation I produced in concert with the rest of the team would be the focal point of any project. 

    At the direction of my employer I began development of an extensive project driven one-to-many relational database in Microsoft Access 97. The database, organized by project, consisted of the contact information for our contractors, payload customers, and partners, and listed the specifications, drawing, integration, testing, and other documentation of our projects. 

    The requirements of each project were outlined by the Principal Engineer, the CAST organization and One Stop Satellite Solutions.

In 1998 I was made a full time employee of OSSS where in I began working as a career employee. 


 
    In July of 1998 CAST and OSSS secured an 18-month contract for the JAWSAT payload as described in the final configuration. It was launched on board the Minotaur launch vehicle in January 2000. 
    The contract called for the integration, delivery and deployment of five separate small satellite payloads to a polar LEO orbit aboard the Orbital Sub-orbital Program (OSP) Minotaur Launch vehicle, the nations first launch vehicle to use engines from decommissioned MinuteMan Ballistic missiles. The design of the JAWSAT Program consisted of the integration of our payload customers, Stanford University (OPAL SAT*), Arizona State University (ASU SAT*), Airforce Academy (FalconSAT*), Airforce Research Labs (AFRL) Optical Research Experiment (ORE*) and two experiments from Marshall Space Flight Center NASA (PEST), and Weber State CAST Attitude Determination and Control Platform (ACP) into a structural frame called a Multi Payload Adapter (MPA*). 

  

    The design also included the integration of multiple digital camera systems to capture the deployment of each payload as it was deployed from the MPA. The scope of a project of this magnitude called for exceptional organization among some fourteen different contracting organizations in addition to our direct payload customers. In response to the perceived need for the organization and collaboration of efforts among so many clients and contractors, I took initiative as the documentation officer to provide an email newsletter detailing the progress of efforts on several fronts. As the project began to mature I directed my colleagues at CAST to put the CAST database online. This enabled our customers to download detailed drawings and models of the design of the MPA, and ACP as well as specifications and other documentation as written by others and myself for the integration "foot print", wire harness, and power specifications of each payload to the MPA. In addition, at my direction, my colleagues and I set up an FTP site that was directly linked to our web site to which our payload customers and contractors were required to upload extensive descriptions of their efforts and progress on the project. 

    Clients, customer payloaders, contracting agencies and a host of other participants were able to keep an up to date picture of the program during the course of the project, from the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to Critical Design Review (CDR) and on through to integration of payloads to the MPA. Tracking mile stones by MS Project and posting deadlines for these milestones to our web site, we successfully managed the program providing critical data to all parties, including payload envelope specifications, integration specifications, FEA, predicted and actual mass properties calculations of the completed payload integration. 

    These efforts resulted in the on time completion and delivery of the JAWSAT payload to the launch vehicle site at Vandenberg Airforce base in California for integration to the launch vehicle and subsequent successful launch and deployment of our payloads as called for in our contract. 

Other projects I was involved in durring this period included:

The begining phases of the CATSAT (Cooperative Astrophysical and Technology SATellite) program

CubeSAT development project. The unit seen here is my design, one of  many.

Tropnet, a proposed tellacommunications array stationed in LEO orbit over the equator.

ACP Attitude Determination and Control. Click here for more

Spin Balance System A senior project. An extrodinary engineering accomplishment by some very dedicated students. Click here for more.