This project was created for NASA's Centennial Challenge. We demonstrated our build on March 29th, 2016. We won Second Place in the College Division as the only High School team to compete. My role on the team was Lead Payload Engineer and Safety Officer.
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 was constructed out of an 8020 frame and actuated using stepper motors and linear actuators, all driven by an Arduino Mega 2560. The vehicle secures the payload that the AGSE retrieves and takes that payload to one mile above ground level (AGL), but not exceed that apogee. The vehicle was constructed out of fiberglass and metal components with extra epoxy and strength at load-bearing joints. To hit that one mile apogee AGL and not exceed, we flew a K-class civilian motor.
We had periodic checkins with a panel of NASA engineers. We wrote extensive documentation for each checkpoint and help two hour long teleconferences with the engineers to disucss design changes and progress made. Those checkpoints included: Statement of Work, Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Flight Readiness Review, and Post Launch Assessment Review.
I also served as the webmaster for our team. Our full website, which contains all of our documentation as well as a gallery of our progress, can be found here.