The Illinois Space Society (ISS) was founded at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in September 2003 by Kirk Kittell and Derek Meyers. ISS was created to develop a network of students and members who are interested in space exploration and development. The purposes of the Illinois Space Society are to:
- Create a network of space supporters in the Champaign-Urbana area
- To serve the community through educational outreach
- To provide supporters with resources that will assist them in following their dreams in the field of space exploration
The Illinois Space Society has been a proud member of SEDS since November 2003.
In order to fulfill our purpose/mission, our (approximately 90) members take part in a variety of professional and community events as well as participate in the technical projects offered by ISS.
Throughout this year, ISS members have been tirelessly working on a variety of technical projects. The Illinois Space Society focuses on more competition based projects in order to introduce our new members to project timelines (especially working with deadlines), as well as technical report writing. For returning members, these projects allow them to improve upon their technical skills. This year ISS has 7 different technical project opportunities:
1. NASA Student Launch:
The NASA Student Launch Competition is a high powered rocketry competition with a focus on the rocket payloads. This year’s design requires a robotic arm to lift a sample from the ground and place it into a horizontally positioned high powered rocket. The team must also devise the components that will lift the rocket to vertical and insert the igniter before launch. All of this must occur autonomously without human intervention. The rocket will then launch to approximately 5,280 feet and land safely. The competition will occur in Huntsville, Alabama, near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. ISS will be competing with groups from around the country in a weeklong event. Pictured are ISS member’s at last year’s competition.
2. Revolutionary Aerospace Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Competition:
RASC- AL is a full mission architecture engineering design competition managed by the National Institute of Aerospace. University groups compete to present at a forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida in June 2016 and for a chance to present at the AIAA conference. This year, the University of Illinois team chose the theme to design a mission for an Earth-Independent 1G space station. ISS’s team members have been in a partnership with students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for this project. The design this year is called the Habitable Environment for Research and Manned Exploration of Space (HERMES).
3. Hybrid Rocket Engine:
The Hybrid Rocket Engine project stemmed from an educational outreach demonstration designed and built by ISS members in spring of 2014. This year began with the completion of the test stand as well as submitting a proposal to compete in the 2016 Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC). In this year’s competition, teams must design, build, and launch a rocket carrying no less than 10lb of payload to a target apogee of their choosing. The hybrid rocket engine will be used for this competition. Pictured is the newly spun grain for our cold fire test in early March.
4. The Space Grant Midwest High Power Rocketry Competition:
The Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocketry Competition is sponsored by the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium. A team of ISS members will be designing and building a high power rocket with an active drag system that will reach an apogee of 3,000 ft. above ground level and be recovered safely in flyable condition. It must also be able to fly, after one hour of alterations, to 75% of the altitude reached in the first launch.
5. The Micr-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT)
The Micro-g NExT challenges undergraduate students to design, build, and test a tool or device that addresses an authentic, current exploration problem. This year’s challenge is to design and manufacture a sample collection and containment device which can mechanically obtain and secure a geology sample from loosely adhered surface rocks in microgravity. The overall experience includes hands-on engineering design, test operations, and educational/public outreach. Test operations are conducted in the simulated microgravity environment of the NASA Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL). Pictured is the ISS team’s tool for this year, the MACS tool, a Modular, hand-held Asteroid Chip Sampler.
6. CanSat Competition
The CanSat competition is a design-build-fly competition, focused on reflecting various aspects of real world missions including telemetry requirements, communications, and autonomous operations. The 2016 mission simulates a sensor payload traveling through a planetary atmosphere sampling the atmospheric composition during flight. The overall CanSat system is composed of two primary components: a glider and a re-entry container that protects the glider during ascent, “near-apogee” deployment and initial re-entry/descent. During flight the glider samples air pressure and temperature, as well as position
7. High Altitude Balloon
The High Altitude Balloon project is an effort by ISS students to launch a weather balloon up to about 100,000 feet. This balloon will carry a scientific payload of a suite of sensors, as well as a camera to capture the amazing views from the edge of space. The hope is that this project will help inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers as they work in a hands-on environment on a project that will reach higher than any other.
Watch our launch from last year at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8kDcF9n5IQ
For more information regarding these technical projects, visit our website http://iss.ae.illinois.edu
Presently, for most of the projects, our teams have finished writing their respective Product Design Review and have started construction. Following one more round of technical papers in March and April, students will be able to travel to the competition sites beginning in late April.
The Illinois Space Society strives to give back to the community as often as possible. Our society’s largest engineering outreach day is Illinois Space Day, held usually every spring, but has been moved to the fall for 2016. For Illinois Space Day we invite a variety of elementary and middle school students to come and visit campus, and experience space related exhibits. Some of these include:
- Space Shuttle Tile & Liquid Nitrogen – This exhibit demonstrates space shuttle tile and the physics and challenges of re-entry heating, as well as extreme cooling with liquid nitrogen. Demos include freezing and smashing a flower and a penny, observing the contraction of a frozen balloon, and eating frozen marshmallows.
- Hybrid Rocket Engine – This exhibit demonstrates the basic principles of a combustion rocket engine.
- Orbital Simulator – This exhibit demonstrates the physics behind gravitational orbits and allow students to get hands-on understanding by attempting to place their “satellite” (a marble) in orbit.
- Illinois Space Society and other Aerospace Engineering Student Organization Technical Projects.
We usually have over 100 kids come and visit Illinois Space Day. Other outreach projects include the College of Engineering’s Engineering Open House. We exhibit some of the technical projects that we have been working on throughout the year as well as some of the exhibits shown above. This outreach event targets all ages and has thousands of attendees every year. Apart from that, we have organized and taught classes at local elementary schools in the fall, and are currently assisting a local Boy Scout troop obtain their Space Exploration Merit Badges. In the past we have participated in Millennium Girls and have assisted other University of Illinois student run organizations with their outreach programs.
We truly have created a network of space supporters at the University of Illinois. Throughout the year we coordinate a variety of space related events for our members. Each year we take a weeklong trip to the Wernher Von Braun Memorial Symposium (fall semester) and the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium (spring semester- which we are attending next week!), both hosted by the American Astronautical Society.
Around 12-16 students attend these symposiums and have the opportunity to listen to various speakers from different companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, NASA, and United Launch Alliance, just to name a few. Other than just listening, they are able to network with key professionals within the space industry during the meals and socials throughout the week. Other than our trips, ISS has monthly meetings to update our members as well as has one social event every month, whether it be a barbecue co-hosted by AIAA, movie nights, tailgates, and of course our biggest social event of the year, Yuri’s night. Pictured above are ISS members at the 2015 Wernher Von Brawn Memorial Symposium in Huntsville, AL.
The Illinois Space Society 2015-16 Executive Board
Alexander Case – Director
Christopher Lorenz – Assistant Director
Rick Wilhelmi – Technical Projects Director
Kelsey White – Educational Outreach Director
Lui Suzuki – Administrative Director
Sarath Panicker – Treasurer
Steven Macenski – Social Director
Christine Mehr – Engineering Council Representative
Marty Motz – Aerospace Undergraduate Advisory Board Representative
Sara Legg – SEDS Representative
For more information on the Illinois Space Society, please visit us at http://iss.ae.illinois.edu
About the speaker:
Loretta has over five hours of weightless time in a 727 aircraft as a Flight Director for Zero-G Corporation. She and her husband George T. Whitesides are also Founder Astronauts slated to be among the first to take sub-orbital spaceflights on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. They are also the Co-Creators of Yuri’s Night, The World Space Party and if you haven’t hosted one, you should this April! She has also hosted the L.A. party under the Space Shuttle Endeavour for the past three years.
Trained as an astrobiologist at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta has been to Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic to study plant life in extreme environments and to the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean with “Titanic” director James Cameron to film a 3D IMAX documentary, “Aliens of the Deep”. Loretta is working on her book on the impact of human space exploration on societal evolution and her passion is training the next generation of space leaders to be the change they want to see in the world
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