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THE USC ADVANCED SPACECRAFT PROPULSION AND ENERGY LABORATORY

What We Do

Founded in August 2018, the Advanced Spacecraft Propulsion and Energy
(ASPEN) Laboratory at USC is the nation’s only student-led research group
focused on modeling nuclear-based spacecraft propulsion systems. Initially comprised of eight undergraduate students, and three faculty advisors, Dr. Charles Radovich, Dr. Paul Giuliano, and Dr. Matthew Gilpin, the team has grown to include nineteen undergraduates from across engineering disciplines. We are a multi-disciplinary and driven team with a shared passion for advanced propulsion concepts and nuclear-based propulsion research.

 

HYPERION-I CAMPAIGN

Hyperion-I is ASPEN’s first engine modeling a solid-core nuclear thermal rocket engine using an inductively heated, additively manufactured metallic core. An overarching view of the development campaign for Hyperion-1 includes three Phases of modeling and hardware testing. Experimental data from each phase will be compared to corresponding linked multiphysics models in ANSYS. Three test articles, starting with a single tube and ending with a full printed core, will be tested with gaseous nitrogen while in an inductive heating environment used to model the nuclear fission that occurs in true solid-core nuclear thermal engines.

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PHASE I

Fall 2019

PHASE II

Spring/Fall 2020

PHASE III

Spring 2021

 

TEAM

Get to Know Us

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MICAH PRATT

Lab Lead

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COLIN COANE

Lab Lead

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SPENCER POWERS

Founding Member and Technical Advisor

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CONNOR POWERS

Founding Member and Technical Advisor

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ARAM SHAHINYAN

Test Stand and Hardware Team Lead

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LANCE MAYHUE

Electronics Lead

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KAYDEN ELMER-SCHURR

Simulations Lead

General Engineers

Albert Sun |  Ava Norrell | Colin Spiridonov | Derek Janoski | Evan Arns |  Malcolm Eady | Nawaf Abualsaud | Breece Phipps | Ana Schuch | Robert Schick | Sebastian Matiauda | Hannah Snow  | Josh Zhou | Lucy Shi | Bradley Martin | Abdulah Kahn | Samantha Lynch | Griffin MacRae | Casey Boatman | Jacky Huang  | Eashan Sarkar | Jennah Saqib | Jared Ramirez  | Nicholas Pardo | Cecil Franklin | Brad Barakat

 

FACULTY ADVISORS

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DR. CHARLES RADOVICH

Associate Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Practice

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

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DR. MATTHEW GILPIN

Senior Lecturer of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

  • Ph.D., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

  • M.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California

 
 
Image by SpaceX

SPONSORS

Valued Partnerships

 
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CONTACT US

University of Southern California

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