Drexel at the Project Icarus Design Weekend
On the weekend of November 7, a team of four undergraduate engineers from Drexel University drove from Philadelphia, PA to Atlanta, GA to discuss the design of the Project Icarus spacecraft thanks to the generous aid of Drexel’s SAFAC and MEM SAC.
Those in attendance from Drexel included: Zachary Block, John Breslin, David Evinshteyn, and Damien Turchi.
The two day conference was separated into two topics: spacecraft description/comments and spacecraft integration. The first few sessions involved each team presenting their spacecraft and receiving feedback on the design. At the end of the weekend, those in attendance considered system integration and the final Project Icarus spacecraft. It was determined that each presented spacecraft has the capability to appear as a published alternative in JBIS for the future of interstellar travel depending on how fusion research develops. Issues that still need to be addressed for each craft include communication and reliability.
The spacecraft presented included the following: Firefly, Ghost, and Zeus. The pros and cons of each vehicle were addressed throughout the conference. Zeus is Drexel University’s design. The team drafted a 50+ page engineering analysis, along with a multitude of CAD drawings.
At the design weekend, the Zeus craft was predicted to have an impressive Isp of 1.5 million seconds, which roughly translates to meaning that 1 lb of fuel can produce 1 lb of thrust for 1.5 million seconds. Considering that the spacecraft’s objective is to arrive at Alpha Centauri within 100 years, the higher the Isp, the better!
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