Fusion Lab Vision and Goals
The Fusion Lab, launched in January 2014, is a space run by AE (pun intended) as a Makerspace for all students to work on class projects and fun builds. The lab also hosts AE related student organizations such as the Model Rocketry Club and Capitol Balloon Experiment Crew (CBEC). These clubs host meetings, pizza parties and other club related activities. The lab also embodies the AE Department's philosophy of having projects be student run and student led.
There are 2 major objectives for the Fusion Lab. The first is to encourage students to work across disciplines. The second is to show the rest of the campus how cool AE is. While the main focus of the room is AE's "go higher" mandate, students from majors such as CIS, EE, CS, and Business have found a home in the Fusion Lab. These students are participating in activities such as learning how to use a 3-D printer, fly drones, work with a Raspberry Pi, and develop balloon and satellite payloads. Students are also encouraged to start a new activity. Quite simply, we want to create an open and welcoming atmosphere that allows for multidisciplinary 'fusion' projects. If a student needs a senior project, they can stop by the Fusion Lab, we will probably have a project for them.
The Fusion Lab's 3-D printers, drones, and Raspberry Pi stations are used for any student project as well as balloon/picosatellite shell development, creative projects, and cosplay/crafting concepts. The lab also supports tours for university visitors and activities such as open houses and Jump Start Juniors. We support CBEC and the High Altitude Balloon Payload (BPP) project—a partnership with UMCP funded by the MD Space Grant Consortium-- as well as the launching-in-2018 Cactus-1 CubeSat and each summer's sounding rocket launch. Cactus-1 embodied two projects, the student-invented TRAPSat science payload and the student-run HERMES communications pilot. These projects embrace the 'fusion' idea. Both projects have students from multiple disciplines as team members. As a makerspace, the lab is always evolving, always open to the next new thing you bring through its doors.
Message from Fusion Lab Manager
A good lab produces results -- an excellent lab produces new researchers. Our Fusion Lab brings together students with different majors, working on student-created, student-led projects. Most labs tout their state of the art equipment, such as our multiple 3-D printers, our 1.4-watt laser, our computers pre-loaded with modeling software. Our students are the real key to success, and our best strategy is to keep the door open and get out of their way. It's an open lab, a home for projects, a den for clubs, and a maker space.
I manage the lab for the astronautical engineering (AE) department because the goal of AE is to go higher, to advance the frontier. The best way to do this is bring in talented students from all backgrounds and give them what they need, advise them when they ask, and step back so they can shine. This web page will tell you about recent success. If you want to know the most current, coolest work in the Fusion Lab, ask a student-- they're the ones creating it.
Dr. Alex "Sandy" Antunes, Fusion Lab Manager
Personnel and contacts
Prof. Angela Walters
Dr Alex "Sandy" Antunes