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From concept to Psyche

Annual Research Report Article
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FAMU-FSU Engineering
Student working on a senior design project

For their capstone project, a FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Senior Design Team traveled to Huntsville, Alabama in April 2019 to test their project. The group collaborated on a project for NASA’s Psyche space exploration mission led by Arizona State University.

The six-member team validated their prototype design at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which supports the 2022 Psyche Mission—a quest to send a spacecraft to the eponymous asteroid to collect data. The team created a prototype of the Xenon Flow Controller, designed to provide efficient flow rates of xenon gas to the Hall-effect thruster, an ion thruster that will propel the spacecraft.

“So impressed with our NASA Psyche capstone students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering,” the agency said via social media. “These college seniors were at Marshall’s Propulsion Research and Development Lab earlier this month to test a prototype xenon flow controller that could help power Psyche’s cruise through deep space.”

Shayne McConomy, Ph.D., teaching professor in mechanical engineering, said the design project provided invaluable experience to the students as they interacted professionally outside the university and represented the college in a positive light. Their work has led to sponsorships from other organizations.