A team from the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University has reached the semi-finals of the Mars Society’s Inspiration Mars Design Competition and is ranked first among Canadian entries.
The competition – established by astronaut Dennis Tito – is designed to find the simplest, cheapest and most practical mission design for a two-person flyby of Mars. The mission is to be launched by 2018 and will last 500 days.
The team is comprised of Lassonde students Jagannath Kshtriya (Space Engineering) and Isaac DeSouza (Space Engineering), and Faculty of Science student Eric Shear (Physics & Astronomy). They are working with Shunsuke Miyazaki, a graduate student at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University in Australia to develop the entry, which required seven months of preparation.
“We jumped at the chance to prove ourselves as space mission designers and to gain additional experience in that field. Even though we did not make the final, we came up with a creative design that would have reduced the cost of the mission over Dennis Tito’s original plan,” said Shear.
Shear worked on the habitat design, power and thermal control sections, Kshtriya did communications, navigation, and attitude control, DeSouza was responsible for the delta-V calculations, launch vehicle selection and trajectory analysis, while Miyazaki focused on the environmental control and life support section.
John Moores, professor of space engineering at the Lassonde of Engineering, was an adviser to the team. “This was a major international competition and we can be exceptionally proud of the accomplishment and of the excellent design submitted by the team of York students,” he said.