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AA 100: Introduction to Aeronautics and Astronautics

This class introduces the basics of aeronautics and astronautics through applied physics, hands-on activities, and real world examples. The principles of fluid flow, flight, and propulsion for aircraft will be illustrated, including the creation of lift and drag, aerodynamic performance including takeoff, climb, range, and landing. The principles of orbits, maneuvers, space environment, and propulsion for spacecraft will be illustrated. Students will be exposed to the history and challenges of aeronautics and astronautics.
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

AA 108N: Surviving Space

Space is dangerous. Anything we put into orbit has to survive the intense forces experienced during launch, extreme temperature changes, impacts by cosmic rays and energetic protons and electrons, as well as hits by human-made orbital debris and meteoroids. If we venture beyond Earth's sphere of influence, we must also then endure the extreme plasma environment without the protection of our magnetic field. With all of these potential hazards, it is remarkable that our space program has experienced so few catastrophic failures. In this seminar, students will learn how engineers design and test spacecraft to ensure survivability in this harsh space environment. We will explore three different space environment scenarios, including a small satellite that must survive in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), a large spacecraft headed to rendezvous with an asteroid, and a human spaceflight mission to Mars.
Last offered: Spring 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR

AA 109Q: Aerodynamics of Race Cars

Almost as soon as cars had been invented, races of various kinds were organized. In all its forms (open-wheel, touring car, sports car, production-car, one-make, stock car, etc.), car racing is today a very popular sport with a huge media coverage and significant commercial sponsorships. More importantly, it is a proving ground for new technologies and a battlefield for the giants of the automotive industry. While race car performance depends on elements such as engine power, chassis design, tire adhesion and of course, the driver, aerodynamics probably plays the most vital role in determining the performance and efficiency of a race car. Front and/or rear wings are visible on many of them. During this seminar, you will learn about many other critical components of a race car including diffusers and add-ons such as vortex generators and spoilers. You will also discover that due to the competitive nature of this sport and its associated short design cycles, engineering decisions about a more »
Almost as soon as cars had been invented, races of various kinds were organized. In all its forms (open-wheel, touring car, sports car, production-car, one-make, stock car, etc.), car racing is today a very popular sport with a huge media coverage and significant commercial sponsorships. More importantly, it is a proving ground for new technologies and a battlefield for the giants of the automotive industry. While race car performance depends on elements such as engine power, chassis design, tire adhesion and of course, the driver, aerodynamics probably plays the most vital role in determining the performance and efficiency of a race car. Front and/or rear wings are visible on many of them. During this seminar, you will learn about many other critical components of a race car including diffusers and add-ons such as vortex generators and spoilers. You will also discover that due to the competitive nature of this sport and its associated short design cycles, engineering decisions about a race car must rely on combined information from track, wind tunnel, and numerical computations. It is clear that airplanes fly on wings. However, when you have completed this seminar, you will be able to understand that cars fly on their tires. You will also be able to appreciate that aerodynamics is important not only for drag reduction, but also for increasing cornering speeds and lateral stability. You will be able to correlate between a race car shape and the aerodynamics effects intended for influencing performance. And if you have been a fan of the Ferrari 458 Italia, you will be able to figure out what that black moustache in the front of the car was for.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR
Instructors: Farhat, C. (PI)

AA 114Q: Large Spacecraft Structures

In space, large structures are often advantageous - large solar arrays are required for collecting solar power and allowing spacecraft to operate in deep space, large diameter telescopes allow us to explore the origins of our universe, and large antennas allow us to track climate change and get large amounts of data back down to Earth. However, our ability to get large structures into space is limited by the size of modern rocket fairings, causing large space structures to be designed very differently from those on Earth. This seminar focuses on the design principles used by aerospace engineers to realize large space structures. Over the quarter, we will discuss techniques for deployable space structures folded on the ground and unfolded in orbit including origami, foldable thin structures, and inflatables. The seminar will also introduce students to current developments in space structures such as on-orbit assembly, in-space manufacturing, and reconfigurable space structures. We will more »
In space, large structures are often advantageous - large solar arrays are required for collecting solar power and allowing spacecraft to operate in deep space, large diameter telescopes allow us to explore the origins of our universe, and large antennas allow us to track climate change and get large amounts of data back down to Earth. However, our ability to get large structures into space is limited by the size of modern rocket fairings, causing large space structures to be designed very differently from those on Earth. This seminar focuses on the design principles used by aerospace engineers to realize large space structures. Over the quarter, we will discuss techniques for deployable space structures folded on the ground and unfolded in orbit including origami, foldable thin structures, and inflatables. The seminar will also introduce students to current developments in space structures such as on-orbit assembly, in-space manufacturing, and reconfigurable space structures. We will examine the materials used in these structures, overview mathematical principles used for their design, and learn from past failures of deployable structures. The seminar will allow students to delve deeper into the concepts with hands-on experimentation, analysis of existing space structures (ex. James Webb, the ISS solar arrays, and CubeSat missions), and will allow students to practice written and oral communication skills.nnBy the end of the course students will be able to:nnExplain the need for large space structures.nnIdentify and compare the engineering approaches for the realization of large space structures.nnAnalyze the challenges associated with large space structures.nnDesign space structures using simple numerical models.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR
Instructors: Sakovsky, M. (PI)

AA 115Q: The Global Positioning System: Where on Earth are We, and What Time is It?

Preference to freshmen. Why people want to know where they are: answers include cross-Pacific trips of Polynesians, missile guidance, and distraught callers. How people determine where they are: navigation technology from dead-reckoning, sextants, and satellite navigation (GPS). Hands-on experience. How GPS works; when it does not work; possibilities for improving performance.
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-AQR
Instructors: Lo, S. (PI)

AA 116Q: Electric Automobiles and Aircraft

Transportation accounts for nearly one-third of American energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and three-quarters of American oil consumption. It has crucial impacts on climate change, air pollution, resource depletion, and national security. Students wishing to address these issues reconsider how we move, finding sustainable transportation solutions. An introduction to the issue, covering the past and present of transportation and its impacts; examining alternative fuel proposals; and digging deeper into the most promising option: battery electric vehicles. Energy requirements of air, ground, and maritime transportation; design of electric motors, power control systems, drive trains, and batteries; and technologies for generating renewable energy. Two opportunities for hands-on experiences with electric cars. Prerequisites: Introduction to calculus and Physics AP or elementary mechanics.
Last offered: Autumn 2016 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

AA 118N: How to Design a Space Mission: from Concept to Execution

Space exploration is truly fascinating. From the space race led by governments as an outgrowth of the Cold War to the new era of space commercialization led by private companies and startups, more than 50 years have passed, characterized by great leaps forward and discoveries. We will learn how space missions are designed, from concept to execution, based on the professional experience of the lecturer and numerous examples of spacecraft, including unique hardware demonstrations by startups of the Silicon Valley. We will study the essentials of systems engineering as applicable to a variety of mission types, for communication, navigation, science, commercial, and military applications. We will explore the various elements of a space mission, including the spacecraft, ground, and launch segments with their functionalities. Special emphasis will be given to the design cycle, to understand how spacecraft are born, from the stakeholders' needs, through analysis, synthesis, all the way to th more »
Space exploration is truly fascinating. From the space race led by governments as an outgrowth of the Cold War to the new era of space commercialization led by private companies and startups, more than 50 years have passed, characterized by great leaps forward and discoveries. We will learn how space missions are designed, from concept to execution, based on the professional experience of the lecturer and numerous examples of spacecraft, including unique hardware demonstrations by startups of the Silicon Valley. We will study the essentials of systems engineering as applicable to a variety of mission types, for communication, navigation, science, commercial, and military applications. We will explore the various elements of a space mission, including the spacecraft, ground, and launch segments with their functionalities. Special emphasis will be given to the design cycle, to understand how spacecraft are born, from the stakeholders' needs, through analysis, synthesis, all the way to their integration and validation. We will compare the current designs with those employed in the early days of the space age, and show the importance of economics in the development of spacecraft. Finally, we will brainstorm startup ideas and apply the concepts learned to a notional space mission design as a team.
Last offered: Autumn 2019 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

AA 119N: 3D Printed Aerospace Structures

The demand for rapid prototyping of lightweight, complex, and low-cost structures has led the aerospace industry to leverage three-dimensional (3D) printing as a manufacturing technology. For example, the manufacture of aircraft engine components, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) wings, CubeSat parts, and satellite sub-systems have recently been realized with 3D printing and other additive manufacturing techniques. In this freshman seminar, a survey of state-of-the-art 3D printing processes will be reviewed and the process-dependent properties of 3D-printed materials and structures will be analyzed in detail. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of this manufacturing approach will be debated during class! To give students exposure to 3D printing systems in action, tours of actual 3D printing facilities on campus (Stanford's Product Realization Laboratory), as well as in Silicon Valley (e.g., Made in Space) will be conducted.
Last offered: Spring 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR

AA 120Q: Building Trust in Autonomy

Major advances in both hardware and software have accelerated the development of autonomous systems that have the potential to bring significant benefits to society. Google, Tesla, and a host of other companies are building autonomous vehicles that can improve safety and provide flexible mobility options for those who cannot drive themselves. On the aviation side, the past few years have seen the proliferation of unmanned aircraft that have the potential to deliver medicine and monitor agricultural crops autonomously. In the financial domain, a significant portion of stock trades are performed using automated trading algorithms at a frequency not possible by human traders. How do we build these systems that drive our cars, fly our planes, and invest our money? How do we develop trust in these systems? What is the societal impact on increased levels of autonomy?
Last offered: Winter 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA

AA 121Q: It IS Rocket Science!

It's an exciting time for space exploration. Companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are launching rockets into space and bringing them back for reuse. NASA is developing the world's most powerful rocket. Startups are deploying constellations of hundreds of cubesats for communications, navigation, and earth monitoring. The human race has recently gotten a close look at Pluto, soft landed on a comet, and orbited two asteroids. The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to look closer to the beginning of time than ever before. The workings of space systems remain mysterious to most people, but in this seminar we'll pull back the curtain for a look at the basics of "rocket science." How does a SpaceX rocket get into space? How do Skybox satellites capture images for Google Earth? How did the New Horizons probe find its way to Pluto? How do we communicate with spacecraft that are so distant? We'll explore these topics and a range of others during the quarter more »
It's an exciting time for space exploration. Companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are launching rockets into space and bringing them back for reuse. NASA is developing the world's most powerful rocket. Startups are deploying constellations of hundreds of cubesats for communications, navigation, and earth monitoring. The human race has recently gotten a close look at Pluto, soft landed on a comet, and orbited two asteroids. The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to look closer to the beginning of time than ever before. The workings of space systems remain mysterious to most people, but in this seminar we'll pull back the curtain for a look at the basics of "rocket science." How does a SpaceX rocket get into space? How do Skybox satellites capture images for Google Earth? How did the New Horizons probe find its way to Pluto? How do we communicate with spacecraft that are so distant? We'll explore these topics and a range of others during the quarter. We'll cover just enough physics and math to determine where to look in the sky for a spacecraft, planet, or star. Then we'll check our math by going outside for an evening pizza party observing these objects in the night sky. We'll also visit a spacecraft production facility or Mission Operations Center to see theory put into practice.
Last offered: Autumn 2020 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA
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