June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.902.1 - 15.902.13
NASA Moonbuggy Senior Design Project as an Assessment Tool and Potential Career Path in Aerospace
Abstract At Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), mechanical engineering senior design course sequence requires completion of two-semester capstone design project. Senior Project I a research class prefaces and is intended to prepare students for Senior Project II the final design project. The focus of this paper is to share our experience in using the NASA sponsored Great Moonbuggy Race Program as a Capstone design project, and to show how to use such a comprehensive design experience as an assessment tool addressing most ABET Criterion 3 a-k program learning outcomes, and its impact on students long terms career objectives. The project is designed to imitate real-world workplace environment; students are divided into four different independent groups, namely, frame, transmission, steering, and suspension, all of which report to a project manager who oversees the execution plan and coordinates between the teams, and manages day-to-day operational aspects of the project and scope. The Moonbuggy vehicle must satisfy not only functionality and strength, but also a set of geometrical and physical constraints such as weight, size, number of passengers, and power source.
Students’ reflections and feedback demonstrate that this project is very suitable in offering graduating seniors unique opportunities to improve their analytical abilities, develop design, organizational, and project management skills, gain experience in working in multi-disciplinary teams, solve cutting-edge engineering problems, and familiarize themselves with aerospace challenges. Numerous other skills acquired in this project, such as leadership, managerial and interpersonal skills, competition, mitigation of team conflicts and communication problems, are expected to have a positive impact and pave the way for a successful career as practicing engineers. Introduction Seniors enter their last year having learned an extensive amount of material covering a wide variety of subject areas and skills. The senior capstone design project is based the knowledge acquired in engineering, science, and other general education courses. It provides students with the platform to move from individual course work to areas of applications and practice. The first part of the paper provides an overview of the project significance, its goals, and objectives; in the second part a brief discussion of the design process is presented. This section is followed by students’ reflections and the impact of this experience on their career objectives. The fourth part of this manuscript demonstrates the use of the project as a successful assessment tool, followed by some concluding remarks. Project Background The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) at CCSU is designed with two concentration areas contained within the general degree offering. Through deliberate choice of electives; students can opt for specializing in manufacturing or aerospace studies. A specialization allows students to tailor the program to meet individual goals or interests, as well as, to address the changing needs of the industrial employers.
Al-Masoud, N., & Naoumov, V., & Prusak, Z. (2010, June), Nasa Moonbuggy Senior Design Project As An Assessment Tool And Potential Career Path In Aerospace Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16104
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