MAV: Mars Ascent Vehicle

March 29, 2016

Only High School Team Invited to NASA Student Launch - College Division. Won Second Place, $15,000
Our work will be used in NASA's Space Launch System mission to Mars.

We developed, in conjunction to a Mars Ascent Vehicle, an accompaniment Autonomous Ground Support Equipment, AGSE for short that: retrieves a payload, transfers the payload into our vehicle, secures the payload enclosure door, erects the launch rail, and waits for motor ignition. The AGSE will be constructed out of an 8020 frame and actuated using stepper motors and linear actuators, all driven by an Arduino Mega 2560. The vehicle will secure the payload that the AGSE will retrieve and take that payload to one mile above ground level (AGL), but not exceed that apogee. The vehicle will be constructed out of fiberglass and metal components with extra epoxy and strength at load-bearing joints. Currently, our rocket will be flying on a civilian J-Class motor.

We wrote extensive documentation for this project for reviewers from NASA Headquarters. These documents consisted of: Statement of Work, Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Flight Readiness Review, and Post Launch Assessment Review.

Writing of these documents and presenting to a panel of NASA Engineers was definitely one of the most educational experiences I've ever had. Especially back when I was still a senior in High School. These documentations are modeled after NASA's own Space Launch System documentations.

You can check out more of our official documentation and other media at the website for our project here.