The Aeronautics Project was born since the foundation of Aristotle Space and Aeronautics Team (A.S.A.T.) in the October of 2015. The project’s initial goal was to participate in a worldwide aerospace competition, the Air Cargo Challenge (A.C.C.) of 2017. With that in mind, Nephele I, the team’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was designed and constructed. This was an experimental layout that would test the skills and experience of the team in the field of UAV design. With the completion of the first flights of Nephele I, crucial data and experience was obtained. This led to the creation of the optimized Nephele II, a hybrid aircraft, mainly constructed from balsa wood and carbon fibre. The participation in the ACC of 2017 with Nephele II was a milestone for the team, achieving the 12th place amongst 36 participants, the 1st place amongst the newcomers and 1st place among Greek teams.
After that, the team’s roster went through changes. The new members decided to participate in the ACC of 2019 with two UAVs based on different configurations. The competition was held in Stuttgart, Germany. The first participation was a further optimized version of the Nephele platform, the Nephele III. The second, named Aurora, was a totally new aircraft layout, following the motor-glider configuration. It was constructed mainly from composite materials, which was a huge step for the team to take, in terms of new design principles and construction techniques. Aurora is currently the fastest and largest, in terms of dimensions, aircraft the team has built so far. The second milestone was set on the 17th of August, when the team ranked 10th worldwide with the Aurora and 12th with the Nephele III, continuing as the best aerospace team in Greece.
The countless working hours combined with the high level of expertise needed to complete the design was quite a challenge for the team. Those who came through these difficulties, are those who decided to continue the journey that began when A.S.A.T. was founded. Sharing the same spirit and principles, the members bonded as a team, a group of colleagues but also friends, who achieved the ambitious goals that were initially set. Continuing the journey, the team is aiming high with the optimization of the new aircrafts, both on aerodynamic and structural aspects, as well as the development of automatic control systems.
The sub – team’s main objective is the aerodynamic optimization design to meet the requirements of the mission with reducing the total drag of the UAV as well as achieving the static stability of it. To attain the above, the sub – team uses a series of numerical tools written in MATLAB and conducts CFD analysis. This sub-team’s latter goal is the prediction of the dynamic stability of the air vehicle through the sizing of the control surfaces is and the simulation of the behaviour of the UAV on crosswinds during flying
This sub-team is responsible for the structural analysis of the UAV, as well as its construction. The members’ main objective is to select the proper mechanisms, connections of the individual parts and operating systems, such as the landing gear, main wing and fuselage assembly. Finally, the selection of the construction materials is conducted, along with their mechanics analysis.
Avionics sub-team is responsible for the selection, design and the implementation of the electronics that are mandatory for the team’s UAVs. The sub-team’s main responsibilities are the optimal construction of the necessary sensor systems the air vehicle have to carry to debrief the flight satisfactorily, as well as the development of the proper controllers for the actuation of the control surfaces, which are mandatory for the implementation of an Auto-pilot system.
Aeronautics, in order to maintain the innovative UAV development, decided to design & build a solar-powered electric UAV. The sub-team’s main objectives are the study and selection of the solar panel system, the implementation of the mandatory controllers plus the power management of the air vehicle’s subsystems.