June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.350.1 - 12.350.15
CHALLENGES FACING THE STUDENT SPACE SYSTEMS FABRICATION LABORATORY AND LESSONS LEARNED
The Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory (S3FL) is a student-led organization dedicated to providing students with practical space systems design and fabrication experience not readily available through the usual academic curriculum. S3FL’s approach is to enhance space systems engineering education by coupling classroom knowledge with practicum experience involving real engineering design, analysis, test, fabrication, integration, and operation of actual flight vehicles and payloads. Through a continuous learning process and by adapting to new challenges, S3FL has sustained itself despite the difficulties of accommodating an increasing number of student members. S3FL has also been able to maintain effective project leadership and technical expertise despite student turnover as well as to secure external support. The paper discusses the methods and strategies adopted by S3FL to address the challenges facing a student-run lab. Case studies of projects are also used to highlight important lessons learned over the years.
1 What is S3FL?
Since 1998, the Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory (S3FL) at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering has combined a formal design process with student creativity and spontaneity to train and provide students with opportunities for research in space systems design and development.1 Each year, S3FL involves over a hundred undergraduate and graduate students in realistic and intensive design-build-test activities ranging from balloon payloads to microgravity experiments to nanosatellites. By participating in the end-to-end development of complete space systems, students acquire knowledge and expertise that would otherwise take years of post-graduate experience to be achieved.
1.1 S3FL’s philosophy
A comprehensive education that prepares students to be strong contributors and leaders in their future careers requires an academic program of both classroom and practical components. Classroom settings provide the foundations of engineering analysis but cannot substitute for practical, hands-on experience gained from real-world problem solving in end-to-end projects. S3FL’s objective is to provide students with the opportunity to learn, develop, and practice the engineering, teamwork, management, and leadership skills required as members of the nation’s future space workforce.
S3FL offers students the following opportunities2: • Hands-on projects to apply classroom knowledge in real-world, interdisciplinary settings • Experience working through a complete design-build-test cycle • Development of a systems engineering mindset
Liu, T., & Deline, C., & Ramos, R., & Sandoval, S., & Smetana, A., & Li, Y., & Redick, R., & Bellerose, J., & Washabaugh, P., & Oaida, B., & Gilchrist, B., & Renno, N. (2007, June), Challenges Facing The Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory And Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2265
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