Armstrong Flight Research Center
June 1, 2020 – August 21, 2020
Goals of your project/s:
As a part of the PRANDTL-M project (or Mars Glider Swarm) my task was to bridge the connection between the various interns by creating a simulation that will allow for virtual flight tests. In this era of Covid-19 it extremely difficult to acquire results especially if the results are physically tested results. This forces project members to rely on coding/calculations and previous (maybe outdated) flight test results to find estimated results rather than experimenting with various materials and molds in real time. In order to combat this situation and make sure progress isn’t being impeded I was tasked with creating a simulation to perform virtual flight tests where various maneuvers can be experimented with and make sure the glider can be adjusted as well.
Describe what you did during the internship.
In the beginning of my internship there was an issue with decided which task I should be assigned with. So, I began working on telemetry and avionics of the glider by researching more into the past and experimenting with the iron bird that was sent to me. However, without access to labs I was greeted with a roadblock where I couldn’t continue experimentation of the beyond-line-of-sight telemetry. I, then, moved on to working on parameter estimation where I took data and passed through a filter in order to get reusable inputs. I was making significant progress with the code and understanding how to implement other codes such as the pEst until I got to one more roadblock where I couldn’t continue without a specific power supply. Receiving the power supply took several weeks because it had to go through approval in order to get to me. Finally that was when I was tasked with creating the simulation that I mentioned earlier. Since this project is completely virtual I will not run into the same roadblocks and i can continue working without many issues. In this specific task I started working with various programs such as the open flight simulation, JSB, and open flight analysis.
Did you achieve your goals? What were the results and conclusions?
Unfortunately, since I received the simulation task fairly late in my internship I was not able to get substantial results. Nevertheless, I did achieve the process in which I can complete the tasks following forward. I start by taking the data received by my colleagues and inputting the necessary information into a program called Open Flight Simulation (OFS) created by the University of Minnesota. This program will turn the data into a specific format called the Open Flight Dynamics Model which can be implemented into two different programs. The first program that this will be implemented into is called the Open Flight Analysis. This program will create graphical representations of specific virtual flight tests. The next program is called JSBSim. This part of the process allows for the physical representation for the flight test and the user will be able to see what the glider looks like and how it flies through the air. Once both of these steps are completed we can combine them together in order to create a overall simulation that will allow for flight tests that will output graphical and physical representations together.
Describe positive lessons learned from this experience:
A positive lesson I learned from this experience is that it is very important to be adaptable. Changing the goal of a specific job is very common in this field of work, so being able to move from one project to the next and staying motivated is crucial. Some more technical lessons I learned were my ability to use python in the Open Flight Analysis, understanding of parameter estimation and why it is important, and more general aerospace information such as why bell-shaped distributions on the wing load is optimal and how proverse yaw can be taken advantage of.
Describe negative lessons learned from this experience:
Overall, I believe this internship was much more than I could have ever asked for and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. Nevertheless, due to the specific situation of COVID-19, I was unable to provide substantial results and sometimes it is important to understand that even though someone is motivated and wants to move the project forward the situation may bring progress to a standstill.