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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Innovation to Flight - Autonomous Aerial Systems
Disciplines:  Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Mentor:  Adrian Stoica, (JPL), Adrian.Stoica@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 354-2190
Background:  The JPL Innovation to Flight (I2F) Program offers a rapid path for testing new ideas and concepts through aerial flight demonstrations. The novel aspects could be related to new flight systems, new on-board computing technologies or new science experiments.
Description:  In past years the I2F program has successfully launched 10 high altitude balloons (HAB), performing a variety of in-flight tests for both flight systems and science. In particular a first generation autonomous launcher was developed and demonstrated, and a second generation was designed; telemetry data systems were implemented; live video received from the balloon, etc Designs, simulations and tests were also performed for automatic recovery of balloon payloads, using parachutes and VTOL planes. With restrictions in place in terms of work performed remotely, this year the focus is on refining some of these designs and building subsystems to be tested in flight when COVID restrictions will be lifted. The project will have a number of students, some working on software, some on electronics and mechanical design, some in applying Artificial Intelligence - Machine Learning for autonomy and for data processing.
Student Requirements:  Past experience with balloons, drones, ground robots, or some automated mechatronic system is required. Excellent knowledge of software tools - depending on the specialty these can be programming or CAD/analysis tools, etc.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: .
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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