Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Bishop and a grant from The Lockheed Martin Corporation, UT students will have the opportunity to work on UAV projects in a new state of the art air systems design lab. This wasn’t always the case—the old lab, originally located in WRW 208, was cramped with little room for more than one project at a time.

The absence of analysis tools, composite work equipment, and the presence of clutter accumulated from past years’ projects further reduced the utility of the lab. After an improved performance at the Design, Build, Fly (DBF) competition and the development of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) group, the need for a bigger, more advanced aircraft construction facility became evident. At the end of the Spring 2006 semester, WRW 202 was completely evacuated. New equipment and tools were purchased and the entire DBF setup was moved from WRW 208 to WRW 202. During the remainder of the summer, ASE faculty and the Chairman, Dr. Robert Bishop, with the assistance of a Senior Design Group, iterated on the final layout and design for the room.

In the meantime, UT contacts at Lockheed Martin worked on acquiring funding. On September 29, 2006 the UT Lockheed Martin Air Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL) was officially inaugurated. That day, Lockheed Martin Representatives donated $100,000 to the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, providing the necessary funds to jump-start the project. After finalizing plans and schedules, construction on the ASDL officially began January of this year. Construction is expected to continue for the next couple of months and should be completed by the end of the Spring 2007 semester. The new lab will boast a storage room, workshop, conference room, avionics lab, and a student lounge. All materials too bulky to keep in the workshop (reams of fiberglass, carbon fiber, etc.) will be kept in storage next door for convenience. The workshop will be used for all construction work and will be equipped with tools ranging from cutting and measuring instruments to aircraft covering tools and an assortment of glues. Students will gather in the conference room to discuss design options and communicate verbally or via drawings on the white board. The conference room will also include a projector for presenting ideas.

In addition, the new lab will contain five new desktop and three laptop computers, a 50 inch plasma screen, an oscilloscope, digital multimeter, soldering tools, and a plotter. The Lockheed Martin Air Systems Design Lab and its student-led projects are open to students of all majors and disciplines. Students from Aerospace Engineering, Computer Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering are currently involved with the development of the new lab and its projects.

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