Aerospace Engineering

How You Can Vacation on Mars Without Rockets

2020-11-27T17:12:42-08:00 November 27th, 2020|Aerospace Engineering, Issue I, Material Science, Space, Volume XX|

Abstract A concept called the skyhook might revolutionize the way humans travel in space very soon. Functioning as cables thousands of kilometers (km) long that orbit the Earth, the skyhook can latch onto outbound spacecrafts at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere and move them away along the cable, bypassing the immense energy that it takes [...]

The Role of Hyperloop in Transportation Innovation

2019-11-13T11:39:15-08:00 July 1st, 2019|Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Ergonomics, Issue III, Lifestyle, Physics, Transportation, Volume XIX|

Written by: Patrick Hennessey With every improvement to transportation, the world feels a little smaller, and people become more connected.  Some of the world’s greatest inventions have been in the field of transportation, but we haven’t had a major innovation in over a century- a new system is long overdue. This article will explore the [...]

The “Aero-Position”: Why Cyclists Study Aerodynamics

2019-11-13T11:38:35-08:00 July 1st, 2019|Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Ergonomics, Issue III, Lifestyle, Physics, Sports & Recreation, Volume XIX|

Written by: Riley Walch Riley Walch is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He has interests in the intersection of the human body and engineering and hopes to turn this curiosity into a career, upon graduation. Abstract Greg LeMond’s 1989 Tour de France victory, aided by research-driven cycling advancements, marked [...]

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before: Faster-than-Light Travel in the 21st Century

2018-01-19T06:31:35-08:00 June 24th, 2014|Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Issue I, Physics, Space, Transportation, Volume XVI|

Albert Einstein’s famous theory of relativity specified that the Universe had a speed limit for all masses. As a result, faster-than-light travel has always been seen as nothing more than science fiction. However, faster-than-light travel may not be so farfetched anymore. Engineers today are working to create the first usable ‘warp drive’, which would allow [...]

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before: Faster-than-Light Travel in the 21st Century

2017-08-11T14:51:43-07:00 June 24th, 2014|Aerospace Engineering|

Albert Einstein’s famous theory of relativity specified that the Universe had a speed limit for all masses. As a result, faster-than-light travel has always been seen as nothing more than science fiction. However, faster-than-light travel may not be so farfetched anymore. Engineers today are working to create the first usable ‘warp drive’, which would allow [...]

Establishing a Lunar Colony

2017-11-03T17:24:29-07:00 May 24th, 2013|Aerospace Engineering, Building & Architecture, Civil Engineering, Issue II, Space, Volume XV|

Establishing a colony on the moon would force scientists and engineers to solve extremely complex design problems but would open doors to further exploration into our galaxy and beyond. In order to establish a lunar colony, scientists and engineers would need to develop new lunar structures as well as determine a way for the lunar [...]

Asteroid Deflection

2018-02-23T11:29:53-08:00 April 30th, 2013|Aerospace Engineering, Editors' Picks, Issue I, Space, Volume XV|

The threat of an Earth-asteroid collision is very real. Historically, asteroids and comets have proven to be sources of incredible destruction, and they are thought to have caused at least one mass extinction. This has motivated geologists, scientists and engineers to start devising plans to deflect potentially lethal asteroids and protect the earth from the [...]

Mommy, I Want a Jetpack

2017-11-10T18:40:01-08:00 August 7th, 2012|Aerospace Engineering, Lifestyle, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Transportation|

Since the 1920s, science fiction has glamorized the jetpack as futuristic technology. After almost one hundred years and only moderate levels of success, people today are left wondering if the jetpack will ever become a reality. By exploring its origins and analyzing recurring design flaws, one can understand the jetpack’s slow development. The success of [...]

Rail Guns: From Sci-Fi to Reality

2017-11-10T18:42:13-08:00 April 23rd, 2012|Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue III, Physics, Security & Defense, Transportation, Volume XIV|

A rail gun uses magnetic and electric forces to accelerate a projectile. Parallel rails extend along the length of the firing chamber of the rail gun powered by capacitors. With the power generated by the magnetic fields contained in rail guns, objects can be launched at incredible speeds. The result is a destructive force. The [...]

Space-Based Solar Power: A New Path Towards Sustainable, Clean Energy?

2017-11-10T18:45:54-08:00 April 21st, 2012|Aerospace Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue III, Material Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Power, Security & Defense, Space, Volume XIV|

Space-based solar power (SBSP) is an idea that has been alternatively promoted and ignored since its inception in 1968. A space-based solar power system is essentially a satellite comprised mainly of solar panels that beams electrical energy down to a collecting station on Earth, which then distributes that energy to the domestic power grid. The [...]

Stealth Characteristics of the F-22 Raptor

2017-11-10T14:49:38-08:00 December 1st, 2011|Aerospace Engineering, Issue II, Material Science, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Security & Defense, Volume XIV|

The F-22 Raptor was developed by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Boeing. Though initially developed to serve as an air superiority fighter, which meant that it would take control of enemy airspace and destroy any opposition, it has developed into more of a multi-role vehicle. The F-22 is an overwhelming vehicle with capabilities that enable [...]

Flying Cars and the Future of Civil Transportation

2017-11-11T17:15:49-08:00 July 13th, 2011|Aerospace Engineering, Issue I, Mechanical Engineering, Transportation, Volume XIII|

Though many have tried and failed, those attempting to combine ground and sky with street-legal aircraft are presented with a new window of opportunity through which they can feasibly offer their innovations to the masses. Joint exploratory research conducted by NASA and the FAA has created the groundwork for an overhaul of our nation’s airspace [...]

Drag Reduction: The Pursuit of Better Fuel Economy

2017-11-03T17:50:23-07:00 April 4th, 2011|Aerospace Engineering, Energy & Sustainability, Issue I, Mechanical Engineering, Power, Transportation, Volume XIV|

Aerodynamics was first used to increase vehicle performance in race cars during the 1970s. Race car engineers realized that air flowing around the vehicle could be used to increase downforce and reduce aerodynamic drag on the car. As fuel economy became a strong factor in road vehicle design, engineers soon realized that the methods of [...]

The Quadrotor’s Coming of Age

2017-11-11T16:51:55-08:00 July 1st, 2010|Aerospace Engineering, Issue II, Security & Defense, Volume XII|

The quadrotor is an emerging Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that may have limitless applications. Departing from a century old design, modern quadrotors are evolving into small and agile vehicles. After already proving their usefulness as aerial imaging tools, new research is allowing quadrotors to communicate intelligently with other autonomous vehicles, to explore unknown environments, and [...]

Aerogel – The Insulative Frozen Smoke

2017-11-11T06:23:34-08:00 October 10th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Issue III, Lifestyle, Material Science, Space, Volume X|

Aerogel, a material commonly referred to as "frozen" or "solid smoke," was originally developed in the 1930s, but has not received much attention until now. Scientists and engineers recently realized the possibilities of working with such an unusual substance, focusing on its strength-to-weight ratio and its thermal resistivity. These properties are a result of the [...]

Impact of Orbital Debris

2017-10-26T18:07:03-07:00 July 17th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Issue I, Volume XI|

Over the past 50 years, man's growing presence in space has led to an increasing amount of debris orbiting Earth. With contemporary society’s heavy reliance on the technology orbiting the planet, the risk of collisions endangers the way man utilizes space. Existing concepts to remove orbital debris are not feasible and the increasing threat of [...]

NASA Brings Clean Water Back Down to Earth

2017-11-11T06:08:15-08:00 March 7th, 2009|Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Issue I, Space, Volume X|

Getting enough water is one of the greatest challenges in human spaceflight. As its mission objectives have become increasingly more ambitious, NASA has been at the forefront of water purification technology. Designers of water purification systems for space travel face many of the same challenges as designers of systems for use in developing nations, and [...]

Micropropulsion and the Future of Space Exploration

2018-11-07T16:36:24-08:00 October 12th, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Issue III, Volume VII|

An emerging trend in the space industry today is the shift from large satellites to smaller microsatellites. It is envisioned that groups of microsatellites could communicate with each other, allowing them to increase their functionality and creating very adaptable networks that could replace the functions of larger, more complex spacecraft. The stringent power, weight, and [...]

The Danger of Airport Runway Crashes

2017-11-11T04:03:38-08:00 October 3rd, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Issue III, Transportation, Volume IX|

Runway incursions present a serious danger to airplane passengers today. Any time two planes, or a plane and vehicle, either come close to a collision or actually do collide on the runway surface can be described as an incursion. There are numerous factors that lead to runway incursions, and all of these must be taken [...]

UAVs: Engineering in Action

2017-11-11T02:57:10-08:00 May 3rd, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Issue II, Mechanical Engineering, Security & Defense, Volume VIII|

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a fusion of many engineering disciplines. They are the premier platform for advanced communication, surveillance, and propulsion technologies. While they have recently garnered most of their press on the battlefield, an emerging commercial sector is attempting to make them part of everyday life. Introduction Anyone paying even the slightest attention [...]

Terraforming Mars

2017-10-26T19:07:39-07:00 May 1st, 2005|Aerospace Engineering, Space|

Mars, a planet once warm enough to support water, is now a cold and dry wasteland unable to sustain human life. Many scientists believe that through the introduction of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the Martian environment can be terraformed into a planet like Earth. Possible methods for introducing carbon dioxide include the spread of [...]

Ion Propulsion: Exploring Space in the 21st Century

2019-01-10T11:19:23-08:00 October 18th, 2004|Aerospace Engineering, Issue V, Physics, Volume V|

Electric or ion propulsion is the newest propulsion system that NASA has put into successful operation. The Deep Space 1 mission used the ion engine as its primary propulsion system and tested its capabilities for the 21st century. Its advantages over conventional propulsion include lower fuel weight, much higher fuel efficiency, and longer operational life. [...]

Satellites: Made to Soar

2019-01-10T10:57:57-08:00 May 5th, 2003|Aerospace Engineering, Communication, Electrical Engineering, Issue III, Volume V|

The launch of Sputnik in 1957 by the USSR marked the beginning of the satellite era. The next half-century saw new research and development that changed satellites into the useful tool of contemporary society. Modern satellites can help locate people all over the world, aid in scientific research, and perform many other valuable functions. Introduction [...]

Engineering Kites Beyond Flight

2017-10-27T11:25:28-07:00 October 1st, 2002|Aerospace Engineering, Issue II, Sports & Recreation, Volume I|

Kites have existed for thousands of years, but even today, little is understood about them. While the aerodynamics of a kite are known in theory, in practice deformability makes its behavior highly unpredictable - yet, precise control of kites has rarely been a concern since kite flying has been relegated to the hobbyist's realm. The [...]

Curveballs and Knuckleballs: Engineering Principles at Work in America’s Favorite Pastime

2018-11-07T13:06:37-08:00 September 2nd, 2002|Aerospace Engineering, Issue II, Sports & Recreation, Volume VI|

The art of pitching a baseball requires great skill and dexterity to master. A great pitcher is one who understands the engineering of the baseball itself and the aerodynamic principles at work while the ball is in flight. Furthermore, a great pitcher is able to exploit these laws of physics with a variety of pitches, [...]

Touring Titan

2018-11-07T14:00:59-08:00 March 30th, 2002|Aerospace Engineering, Issue III, Space, Volume VI|

Launched in 1997, the Cassini-Huygens mission is a seven-year project that reached Saturn in June 2004. Upon arrival Cassini began four years of data gathering on Saturn and nine of its twenty known moons. In November 2004 the probe Huygens was released and descended to the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Some scientists view [...]

Dynamic Soaring

2017-11-12T22:40:50-08:00 October 21st, 2001|Aerospace Engineering, Issue IV, Volume I|

Dynamic soaring is a specialized form of gliding flight that has not yet been thoroughly researched. Observations of the albatross seabird show that it is possible to harness abundant energy by flying specific patterns through a boundary layer between two layers of air with differing wind velocities. Prior to the 1990's, rigorous examinations of these [...]

Space Flight: The History and Future of Rocket Science

2017-11-12T22:30:53-08:00 July 1st, 2001|Aerospace Engineering, Issue III, Space, Volume I|

Space exploration is a hot topic that has fans in aerospace engineering and the general population alike. This article provides a brief account of the evolution of space flight, from the early days of rocketry until the mid 20th century. In addition, it offers an explanation of the mechanics of space flight and explores different [...]

Roller Coasters

2017-10-26T18:41:57-07:00 April 1st, 2000|Aerospace Engineering, Issue I, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Sports & Recreation, Volume I|

Millions of people ride roller coasters every year and have turned the roller coaster business into a billion dollar industry. Usually, while the passengers are whizzing around on the hills of the coaster they aren't thinking about the designers that made the rides possible or the laws of physics that coasters are based on. Roller [...]