MECH 372 / ENGR 372
Space Systems Design and Engineering II
Personal Research Paper
Objective: The objective of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to explore one topic of personal interest to a level beyond that covered in lecture.  

This optional assignment is available to students with a B- or less for their overall grade. The assignment will be graded.  Outstanding assignments will enable students to raise their overall course grade by as much as 1/3 of a grade (e.g., from a B- to a B; from a C+ to a B-, etc.); note that simply doing the assignment does not guarantee this - the resulting work must be of very high quality.

Overview:  In general, your topic should be relevant to a technology, subsystem, or process topic addressed as part of the 372 course (any exceptions must be discussed with the instructor).  A list of possible topics are provided below, but many others exist.  You are encouraged to find a topic in which you have a personal interest (my hope is that at least 1 thing in this class has sparked some level of personal interest), and you are absolutely welcome to select a topic that exploits knowledge you have as an engineer in industry.  Each person will complete this assignment on an individual basis.

Assignment:  For standard research topics, complete the following.  For non-standard topics or functional prototyping, discuss your requirements with the instructor.

1 - Select a research topic and have it approved by the instructor.  The topic may be from the list below or one that you propose.  

2 - Research your topic using at least 3 traditional references in addition to the course text/slides and other than web pages (you are welcome to cite web pages as well, but you need to use at least three traditional references such as other textbooks, conference/journal papers, technical reports, etc.).  All references must be properly cited and listed in a bibliography.

3 - Write a 4-6 page summary about your topic (single spaced, 1" margins, 10-12 pt font; 4+ pages of text, separate cover page and separate page for bibliography).  You MUST submit this in hardcopy to the instructor by the final deadline; there will be no extensions.  I generally would expect to see a small number of appropriate figures  - the equivalent of no more than 1 page.

For your selected topic, you are being asked to become an expert in this area; as such, determining the most important concepts to present is part of your task.  That said, typical topics when discussing a component, for example, might be to present a) a motivation for why such components are used and how they functionally contribute to an overall subsystem or system with the pros/cons compared to other options, b) the fundamental theory of operation for the device (a description of how it works from a "physics" perspective - this would be critical), c) specific examples with perhaps a photo and specific performance numbers, and so on.  This is just an example, and this "template" approach would vary for different types of topics - but I absolutely expect some central "fundamental" discussion relating to theory/modeling/etc no matter what your topic is.  You are encouraged to discuss your outline with the instructor.

Selected Topics:

None so far


Other Possible Topics - these are just examples:

Detailed report on a power generation or storage technology not discussed in class Detailed report on a thermal control technology not discussed in class Composite structures
Advanced spacecraft mechanisms Advanced flight computing systems - Advanced payload technologies or case studies