AE Brown Bag Presents: Philippe Clifton and Luke Heyerdahl

Fri Feb 14 2020 12:30 PM to 01:30 PM
Guggenheim 442
GT-AE tradition in which select undergraduates and graduate students present their research before their peers and mentors


The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering

is proud to present the

Brown Bag Lunch


Philippe Clifton​

(Advisor: Prof. Koki Ho)


Luke Heyerdahl​

(Advisor: Prof. Narayanan Komerath​)



Friday, February 14
12:30 p.m.

Guggenheim 442

Philippe Clifton will present

"Modelling and Analysis of Satellite Megaconstellations"


Much of the anxiety surrounding the deployment of constellations of hundreds or thousands of satellites stems from a position of concern as to the potential interference impact such constellations will have on communications infrastructure. By making use of the capabilities found in STK, especially those related to communications, it was determined that certain types of ground receivers, under the right conditions, are more exposed to interference from the downlink satellites of these megaconstellations. The project also developed a workflow procedure to efficiently and accurately model megaconstellations by using generating two line element files for the individual assets of the constellation.

Since the proposed constellations have not yet been deployed as of this project, certain assumptions had to be made to generate a realistic notional constellation, including altitude, RAAN, and inclination of the orbital shells. A custom-made python script was used to iterate through values in the TLE to generate evenly distributed networks of satellites in each shell based on input altitude, planes per shell, and satellites per plane. A notional constellation of 12,000 satellites distributed among three different shells was created. Deck Access was then used to determine which of these fictional spacecraft would fall within the field-of-view of the ground-site within the analysis period.

Luke Heyerdahl​ ​will present... 

"Initial Prototyping and Testing of a Modular Delivery Drone" ​

Delivery companies are looking to drones as a method for delivering packages quickly and reliably to consumer doorsteps. However, the development of a universal delivery vehicle leads to a tradeoff between payload capacity and flight efficiency. One solution is to build a modular drone such that smaller loads would be carried by a single drone while larger loads would be carried by, for example, four drones together. One such prototype was developed as a series of quadrotors organized in an X-pattern. After a single quadrotor was built and flown, a lightweight aluminum frame was constructed to interlock four drones and a single flight controller.

Flight testing was accomplished by tethering all drones to the ground, enabling a controllable flight radius ranging from three to thirty feet. The drone was able to be piloted directly with full directional control, but with noticeable flight instability. In an attempt to solve this, GPS systems were added to the drone to enable autopilot functionality. However, the drone was unable to maintain a constant position and altitude. Most recently, a single drone was flown with a suspended load using both direct and remote control with great success. As such, it was determined that flight controller redesign in the form of PID gain manipulation would allow for stable flight of the modular drone system


Guggenheim 442