Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
This paper presents an Engineering capstone design project that is community or service based. By and large most students in the school’s capstone program build a car for competition in the Baja or Formula collegiate programs. For 2019-20 program the project was to build a mechanical, star-tracking mechanism, for a 4.5-meter Series 8345 Prime Focus radio telescope. The instrument will be modified to scan the sky using the hydrogen line. The telescope is to be placed at the John C. Rudy Park, in York County Pennsylvania and operated by the York Astronomical Society (YAS). The mount was to include both azimuth and elevation tracking with remote control from a website. The park service was to handle the details surrounding the foundation, fencing, control room, and power; however, the college ended up providing these features as well. This paper details the design and initial and final construction of the telescope’s mechanical components by the students. This Project Based Learning PBL course allows the students to manage the design process with minimal academic structure. However, some faculty assistance was required for this program and we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these interactions. Additionally, the course’s design helps promote Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and Life-Long Learning (L3) of the students. The academic advisors overseeing the work served more in a mentoring role than as project managers. Not surprisingly, this project had numerous financial and engineering constraints to include the difficulties surrounding a 1-ton telescope and rotating mechanisms being operated in a public park atop an 9-foot pole. These constraints necessitated both student and faculty grant applications. The paper additionally details the design and solution to some of the more difficult manufacturing limitations of the college’s facilities. Finally, the paper discusses the educational value of this project’s approach along with the social and environmental issues that needed to be overcome.
Wilkerson, S. A., & Gadsden, S. A., & Meah, K., & Hake, D. J. (2020, June), Engineering Capstone Design of a Radio Telescope Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34549
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