Teaming Up With NASA

May 24, 2016

Students and faculty from the Interactive Media Department at Bradley University will soon begin working on three projects that were awarded grants from NASA.  Dr. Monica McGill, Scott Cavanah and Ethan Ham are faculty members and the co-primary investigators on the projects, while the undergraduate students who will participate have not yet been chosen. 

Work is expected to begin in Fall 2016 and run through Fall 2017.  Teams will be working on CubeSat satellites (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CubeSat).  These are miniaturized satellites used for educational and research purposes.  Bradley’s teams will be working with the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, to create tools in support of the CubeSat satellites they are building.

Teams will be working on three specific projects. 

(1) To develop an augmented reality satellite development tool.  Augmented reality involves layering computer generated information on top of a live video view of the real world. The H3C Augment Reality project will create an augmented reality tool that will be used by aerospace engineers when building and testing satellites.  This project's goals are to write a design document and create a proof-of-concept prototype for an augmented reality tool for the Triaxial Helmholtz Cage (H3C). The proposed augmented reality tool might allow a cage operator to see a visual representation of the magnetic fields that are being generated, see information regarding the orbital position that the cage is simulating, and visualize how the satellite is responding to the cage's simulation.

(2) To develop a mobile application for controlling satellites.  The Satellite Control App project will create a mobile app for Android and iOS devices that connects to satellite mission control. The app will allow its engineer/scientist users to control and communicate the satellites from their phones.  This is a user experience project and will help to launch Bradley’s new User Experience Design major. This project will be a particularly great experience for Bradley students because they will be working with real clients to create a product that controls satellites and will be put to actual use.

(3) To create a gamified satellite position reporting website.  The Satellite Position Gamification project aims to help track the locations of CubeSat satellites. Amateur radio operators, as a hobby, spot & track the locations of satellites. This project would involve a team of 3-4 students creating a web application that would provide a tool for those wanting to submit data. Student training for the project would involve learning how to locate satellites and the current avenues for submitting positioning data. Students would then develop a strategy that would "gamify" the submission process in order to encourage participation.