Dear Space Lovers,
We are Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) Society 4 Space Privatization and Commercial Exploration, or Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. for short. Founded in the fall of 2007, the Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. has become ERAU’s space organization! With over 75 active members, we grow and learn each and every semester. The Society 4 S.P.A.C.E’s mission focuses on a few things: conducting research, hosting events, and raising awareness. Our main goal is to educate the minds of today on tomorrow’s challenges.
We are heavily involved on a community as well as a national level. Whether it is hosting events on campus or attending conferences, we strive to raise awareness in any way possible. Some of the past events we have hosted on campus include “Women in Zero G,” “Yuri’s Night,” and “Give Me Space.” Some of the conferences that we attend each year include the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference, Creative Arts and Sciences (CASE) Conference, and the Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace International Research (A³iR) Conference at our sister school in Prescott, Arizona.
For “Women in Zero G,” we honored the first American woman in space, the one and only Sally Ride. At the event, we informed participants of what Society 4 S.P.A.C.E.’s mission is as well as ongoing research, which was followed by the movie “Gravity”. We also had a member of ERAU’s board of trustees and former NASA Astronaut, Nicole Stott who was scheduled to Skype in during the event, but due to an event at NASA she was unable to be present. “Yuri’s Night” is something we have done every year in the spring semester. The event celebrated Yuri Gargarin’s flight into space. Being the first cosmonaut and first man in space, it is a ‘must-celebrate’ event. During this event we had three main guest speakers: Edward Mango, former program manager for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP); Mr. Ronald Caswell, former docent at NASA’s KSC; and Dr. Sergey V. Drakunov, Assistant Dean of Research at ERAU. At the “Give Me Space” event, our main goal was to promote space and promote the Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. We watched the movie October Sky and entertained our participants with the fascinating topic of space.
We hope to attend and host several more events and conferences this year as well as hosting “Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. presents The Martian.” Through event planning and persistence, we are striving once again for greatness.
As stated before, we are heavily invested in research. Currently, we have three research projects being worked on. The first is our Atmospheric Weather Balloon for Near Space Research. The Atmospheric Weather Balloon for Near Space Research, is a small cube that will be tethered to an eight foot diameter helium balloon capable of holding 365 cubic feet of helium. This massive balloon will be able to carry our cube up to 100,000-120,000 feet. Once the balloon bursts, the cube will freefall back to Earth with the parachute deployment system to land the cube safely back on the Earth’s surface. Inside the cube are multiple sensors that will record key data as it ascends and descends through the different layers of Earth’s atmosphere. We will be able to recover the cube via GPS once the cube lands. Since we will not know the landing location exactly, we created a MATLAB simulation that allows us to generalize the possible landing site. The Atmospheric Weather Balloon for Near Space Research is complete and we are now waiting on a launch date.
The second research project is the Autonomous Satellite Recovery Vehicle or ASVR. The ASVR is a machine styled after a quad-copter that was designed with folding arms. The folding design is key because it allows it to fit inside a rocket. For this feature, we teamed up with the rocket club here on campus (IRFSEDS). With their help, they assured us it was possible to fit the ASVR inside a rocket. Attached to the ASRV are numerous sensors that acquire data such as temperature, humidity, pressure, wind direction, and many other functions of the atmosphere. Once the rocket hits apogee, the ASRV will be ejected and begin free falling. As it free falls, all the necessary data will be collected until the ASRV hits the altitude of 1,000 feet. Once it does this, the parachute will be released slowing the ASRV’s velocity speed to a suitable range where the engines can ignite. Once the engines do so, the ASRV will fly, autonomously, to the prerecorded GPS waypoint, which the pilot chooses before launch. Once the Atmospheric Weather Balloon for Near Space Research was launched and instrumentation was proven to collect and transmit the data, the idea was to install the instrumentation into the ASRV, which would allow the ASRV to collect the data and fly back to us instead of looking for the landing site of the cube.
Our third project is our newest project. It is a collaboration between ERAU and NASA. Dr. Sergey V. Drakunov, Assistant Dean of Research at ERAU, contacted Francisco Pastrana, President for Society 4 S.P.A.C.E., and proposed the idea of building and testing a new propulsion system for an autonomous drone created by NASA. The Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. will be helping him develop the propulsion system as well as testing it. Possible propulsion systems we have looked at include: a steam engine for water vapor propulsion in worlds like Europa, Jupiter’s moon and a cold gas propulsion system using local resources like CO2, which is available in Mars atmosphere. Solar energy can be used to suppress this gas as well as fuel the tanks for long duration exploration. The basic idea of Mars exploration is to map the lava tunnels that NASA could use to build a city under the surface protecting it from harmful cosmic radiation. We look forward to working with NASA on this project.
The Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. thrives off of encouragement and the passion to learn. Whether it is building a hotel in space, or sending the first person to Mars, the Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. will pave the road for space privatization and commercial exploration.
If you are a space lover, join the Society 4 S.P.A.C.E. today!