UBC Snowstar: NASA Centennial Challenge Entry and Continued Development of the PHAS Extracurricular Projects Laboratory

TitleUBC Snowstar: NASA Centennial Challenge Entry and Continued Development of the PHAS Extracurricular Projects Laboratory
Duration2 Year
Funding Details
Year 1: Project TitleEngineering Physics Space Elevator – NASA Centennial Beam Power Challenge
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2006/2007
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorAndre Marziali
Year 1: Funded Amount25,000
Year 1: Summary

The TLEF funding will support the 2006 UBC entry into the NASA Beam Power Competition and the creation of an infrastructure that will allow for continued partnerships between Physics and Engineering in student projects. In 2005, the UBC team entered with almost no funding and achieved very high levels of success. Involvement in the team has provided the students with a very comprehensive learning experience and it in the interest of the applicants to extent that experience to as many students as possible. The funding will cover the costs of two co-op students for the summer of 2006 and supplied that will allow similar teams to operate in the future. One student will work out of Dr. Marziali’s lab and concentrate on the robotics systems. The other student will work out of Dr. Whitehead’s Structured Surface Physics lab and focus on optical systems. The primary goals of both students will be to act as coordinators so that as many students as possible are able to work together as a coherent team over the summer and to set up an infrastructure to allow for years of successful projects that utilize a partnership between Physics and Engineering. This level of student involvement and success will not be possible without two students at the top that are able to dedicate all of their time to the project.

Year 2: Project YearYear 2
Year 2: Funding Year2007/2008
Year 2: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 2: Principal InvestigatorAndre Marziali
Year 2: Funded Amount20,000
Year 2: Summary

The UBC Snowstar space elevator team is a student-run design team currently comprised of undergraduate engineering and science students. The team works year-round to design and build a space elevator prototype for entry into the annual NASA Beam Power Challenge (BPC), a competition aimed at advancing technologies in the fields of lightweight design and mechanical efficiency; the challenge is also meant to stimulate research into potential new technologies for "power beaming" (i.e. wireless power transmission). In 2006-2007, the UBC Snowstar team is aiming to remain one of the leading few contestants in the Challenge, as it has been since the competition was established in 2005.

The barriers to entry for a student competition of this scale are significant. In that regard, the goal of this TLEF application is twofold: first, to improve technical and administrative resources for Team Snowstar to reach its own goals of winning the BPC; and second, to establish long-term resources and procedures, such as lab space, general-purpose and specialized tools, and complete supporting technical and
administrative documentation to reduce the amount of time and effort required for future teams and/or student project groups to get started and pursue work directly related to their competition.