William Pfouts

Engineering Analysis, Fabrication, and Programming
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We were lucky as community college students to be able to participate in the Rocksat-X suborbital payload launch. Our payload tested triboelectric charges on small materials in a cost effective manner, for the purposes of redirecting smaller pieces of orbital debris.

In this project I created and tested several methods of creating an extending arm at which to launch material. When a method was chosen, I assisted in iterating the arm, creating a much sturdier and more robust design. I also was placed in charge of creating the hardened electronics enclosure, designed to cradle the hardwware for up to 27+ G's and then wait for up to 24 hours in a saltwater environment. Due to my experience in testing and CAD modeling, I had a hand in, and took the lead in, almost all mechanical components. I also was responsible for coding tricks that made it possible to remove an entire Arduino board from the payload, and made suggestions to the electronics teams that made assembly and disassembly of the payload much easier.

Skills that I had to learn to complete this project was SolidWorks parametric modeling, 3d printing of ABS parts, Finite Element Analysis of different materials, testing schedules for much larger projects, including individual subcomponents, working in a larger (15+) group with smaller working groups, and versioning hardware.