5 months ago

Student team’s NASA Student Launch rocket and rover effort is successful

A student team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) successfully launched a rocket with a rover as its payload in a national NASA Student Launch that was shortened by the COVID-19 virus.

Named Baedor, the rocket that launched on March 14 in Woodville, Ala., used a Level 2 Aerotech L2200G solid fuel motor. It is 136 inches long and 6.17 inches in diameter. It weighs 61.5 pounds with a loaded motor and payload.

“This year our rocket reached an apogee of 4,454 feet above ground level,” says Nicholas Roman, the project manager and a senior in aerospace engineering from Cullman. The team’s goal was 4,500 feet.

When it landed the rocket successfully deployed its payload, the rover Little Dipper. The rover then was piloted by remote control to a mission collection area. There, Little Dipper used its scoops to collect samples of simulated ice.

“Our rover is designed to run on treads and is symmetric so that it can operate regardless of which side it is deployed on,” Roman says

Originally set as a payload demonstration launch before the viral outbreak changed the SLI schedule, instead the flight demonstrated the full mission of the UAH team’s rocket and payload. The SLI final launch previously been set for April 4 at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala., was scrubbed.

NASA Student Launch is a research-based, competitive and experiential exploration project that provides relevant and cost-effective research and development to support the Space Launch System, or SLS. The project involves colleges and universities across the nation in an eight-month commitment to design, build, and fly payloads or vehicle components that support SLS.

The UAH team is advised by Dr. David Lineberry, a research engineer at the UAH Propulsion Research Center, and mentored by Jason Winningham, who has assisted rocket launches and advised throughout the project.

Funding has come from the Alabama Space Grant Consortium, the Propulsion Research Center and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Roman says the greatest development challenges have been funding, creating a functioning deployment system that met requirements and the poor weather cancellation of multiple test launch dates. Managing the process has been a learning experience.

“I have learned that a detailed schedule is very important in ensuring that everyone is properly tasked and that work is completed before deadlines,” Roman says. “I have also learned to put a large amount of faith in my team as they put incredible amounts of time and effort into this project to ensure it is the best it can possibly be.”

Besides Roman, team members are:

  • Joshua Jordan, chief engineer; senior, mechanical engineering, Mount Vernon, Wash.
  • Peter Martin, vehicle team lead; senior, mechanical engineering, Coopersburg, Penn.
  • James Venters, payload team lead; senior, mechanical engineering, Huntsville, Ala.
  • Jessy McIntosh, safety officer; senior, mechanical engineering, Beaufort, N.C.
  • Maggie Hockensmith, technical writing coordinator and vehicle safety deputy; senior, aerospace engineering, Lexington, Ky.
  • Claudia Hyder, payload safety deputy; senior, mechanical engineering, Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Patrick Day, project management team; senior, aerospace engineering, Johnson City, Tenn.
  • Will Snyder, project management team; senior, aerospace engineering, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Rodney L Luke, vehicle team; senior, aerospace engineering, Pleasant Grove, Ala.
  • Roman Benetti, vehicle team; senor, aerospace engineering, Woodbury, Minn.
  • Rachel O’Kraski, vehicle team; senior, aerospace engineering, Huntsville, Ala.
  • Ben Lucke, vehicle team; senior, aerospace engineering, Saint Petersburg, Fla.
  • Jeremy Hart, vehicle team; senior, aerospace engineering, Gainesville, Ga.
  • Jacob Zilke, vehicle team; senior, aerospace engineering, Wilmington, N.C.
  • Joseph Agnew, payload team; senior, mechanical engineering, New Market, Ala.
  • Johnathon Jacobs, payload team; senior, aerospace engineering, Valley Head, Ala.
  • Thomas Salverson, payload team; senor, mechanical engineering, Gretna, Neb.
  • Kevin Caruso, payload team; senior, mechanical engineering, Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
  • Jacob Moseley, payload team; senior, aerospace engineering, Gaylesville, Ala.

(Courtesy of UAH)

16 mins ago

July small business owner survey shows lack of optimism, increased uncertainty amid modest financial gains

In a July study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), America’s small business owners reported a 14% month over month drop in their expectations the economy will improve even as many firms reported faring slightly better amid loosened coronavirus restrictions.

Overall, there was a decrease of seven points in the NFIB Uncertainty Index and a decrease of 1.8 points in the NFIB Optimism Index.

The categories in which businesses saw minor gains were earnings, hiring and capital outlays. NFIB State of Alabama director Rosemary Elebash focused on the positive aspects in her comments on the study.

“Our members are seeing positive signs of businesses recovering and operating while still under the COVID-19 emergency orders,” Elebash said in a release on Wednesday.

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NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a statement accompanying the release of the study remarked, “Small business represents nearly half of the GDP and this month we saw a dip in optimism. There is still plenty of work to be done to get businesses back to pre-crisis numbers.”

The NFIB report also showed continued demand for skilled workers that has not been met; 27% of businesses surveyed reported having job openings for skilled workers that they could not fill.

A release from the group highlighted that a “net negative 28% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past 3 months.”

“Even with states reopening, sales are often lower due to business restrictions, social distancing requirements, and a still-reduced willingness of consumers to go out and mingle with the general population,” the report continued.

Elebash made further comments on the current state of the economy in Alabama, saying she hopes to see the unemployment rate continue to drop.

“July’s tax revenues grew by 4.27% after two months of declines. Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 7.5% percent in June, a big improvement from April’s high of 13.8%, and we hope to see another drop in the jobless rate when July’s numbers are released,” she stated.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

38 mins ago

Ledbetter named co-chair of Tuberville’s Senate campaign

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) has been named co-chair of Republican senatorial nominee Tommy Tuberville’s 2020 campaign, it was announced on Wednesday.

The former Auburn University head football coach cited the conservative lawmaker’s record of success in the State House among the key reasons for his selection.

“Majority Leader Ledbetter has spent the last three years working closely with Republican representatives and senators from every corner of our state, and the conservative reforms they implemented have made Alabama a better place to work, live, and raise children,” Tuberville said in a statement.

“His team built upon the GOP supermajority in Alabama during the 2018 campaign cycle, and his experience and instincts will prove to be invaluable as we head toward November,” the candidate added.

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Ledbetter joins Stan McDonald, a Huntsville attorney who has successfully helped lead the campaign leadership team, as a campaign co-chair. McDonald was chair of the pro-Tuberville Grit PAC before transitioning to the campaign itself.

Saying he was eager to begin working with the campaign staff to secure a Tuberville victory, Ledbetter stressed that the race is especially important since Alabama’s U.S. Senate contest could very well determine which party controls the Senate after this election cycle. The result could determine the direction of the country, Ledbetter advised.

Tuberville will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election.

“Since taking office, Doug Jones has voted twice to remove Donald Trump from office, opposed the nomination of conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and joined the liberal faction that supports abortion and wants to grab our guns,” Ledbetter stated. “I am proud to help elect Coach Tuberville because it is time for Alabama to have a U.S. Senator who represents our conservative beliefs and values, not those of liberals who live in New York and California.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Alabama Power personnel head to Illinois in support of another storm recovery

Alabama Power Company crews are slated to arrive in Illinois on Wednesday to assist in storm recovery efforts after a deadly derecho pummeled midwestern states in recent days.

The Alabama Power team members heading to Illinois just completed restoration efforts in New Jersey related to Tropical Storm Isaias. More than 200 of the company’s lineworkers and support personnel assisted in the Garden State after more than 1 million residents were affected by the storm.

Personnel arriving in Illinois will support Commonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) restoration efforts.

As of Tuesday, more than 400,000 ComEd customers remained without power in metropolitan Chicago and northern Illinois.

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“We were in the right place to be able to move quickly from New Jersey to help the folks in Illinois,” stated Brian Lindsay, a manager in Alabama Power Company Power Delivery who is part of the company’s team heading to support ComEd. “Our crews are eager to support ComEd and their customers.”

Just as was the case in New Jersey, this is yet another example of Alabama Power offering and coordinating recovery work through the mutual assistance program of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, a trade association comprised of several member utilities.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack: ‘Disappointed’ in Doug Jones; Tuberville needed to keep country ‘free,’ ‘strong’

For many voters, especially on the Republican side, the subject of maintaining law and order will be a priority when they cast their ballot in this November’s election.

According to Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack, the issue should be considered, especially when deciding whether to vote in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) and his GOP challenger former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Mack told listeners during an appearance on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5 on Tuesday it was important for Republicans to maintain control of the U.S. Senate, which put added importance on the Jones-Tuberville match-up.

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“You always look at every election as important,” he said. “I don’t think you can say there is no such thing as an unimportant election. But this one, and in particular our U.S. Senate race, is so important right now. Number one, just from the 3,000-foot view, the Republican Party can gain a seat back in the Senate. And as you know — you follow politics very closely — the Senate is the one body in our United States form of government that has an incredible amount of influence and power as it relates to legislation and to policy, and to funding. So, it is very important that we regain that seat.”

Mack acknowledged his support for Tuberville and expressed his disappointment in Jones, a former U.S. Attorney for the Clinton Justice Department, for his embrace of a “far-left philosophy.”

“From a personal perspective, of course, I’m voting for Tommy Tuberville,” Mack continued. “I hope that Tommy wins the race. When Doug Jones took office, I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed because I’ve known Doug for years. He was a former United States prosecutor. And I was even familiar with some of the cases he prosecuted in the northern district. Since he has moved to Washington, he seems to have taken on a little bit more of that far-left philosophy in many areas but certainly as they relate to law enforcement. I feel that if we’re going to try to achieve some of the things that law enforcement needs to do to keep our country strong, to keep our country free and abide by the rights of the citizens, we need to elect somebody like Tommy Tuberville to that seat.”

Mack predicted issues of law and order and policing would be among the “top three” issues for voters in the November election, and a more discussed issue than if not ever, then at least since the early 1970s.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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