Solar Powered UAV
Solar-Powered Endurance UAV Initial Mockup
In this project our five-person senior design team is solving the challenge of designing, analyzing, constructing, and testing a low altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which can perform long-duration solar-powered flight. This serves to introduce us to engineering materials selection, solar power systems, and the importance of balancing competing design demands to achieve overall performance goals. The project holds an exceptional amount of potential to offer long-term benefits to current and future aerospace R&D efforts within the state of Louisiana. Specifically, the project is providing us with cutting-edge skills and hands-on experience in numerous technologically important areas (aerodynamics, systems integration, UAV design, wireless communication/control, and solar power) while introducing us to the specific needs, opportunities, and challenges associated with aerospace engineering. Over the course of the project we have been learning about UAV regulations, proposed uses in civilian and military applications, and the current state-of-the-art in both UAV and sustainable energy harvesting. We are incorporating our findings on these topics as well as documenting our design in a series of written reports to our project advisor and we wll give a final public presentation. The project’s goals are specifically designed to provide us with valuable learning experiences directly related to the aerospace community in general and NASA in particular.
This project is currently in the prototyping phase and is being funded by NASA through the LaSPACE consortium.
Current Design Work
The mechanical portion of the design process is currently centered around the prototyping of the airframe. We are currently testing wing construction material combinations using Kevlar, Balsa wood, and carbon fiber spars.