Embry-Riddle Advanced Research (NEAR) Lab.

the potential of reusable boosters, onlookers screamed with joy. Such breakthroughs inspire people in all types of industries to push the limits of human capabil- ity ever higher. Yet every launch takes a financial toll on airlines, and at the dawn of a New Space

“We established a baseline, which was a standard day of air traffic,” Firmo explains. “Then we simulated it again, but we blocked the airspace for a certain amount of time to see what would

Mike Geldart demonstrates the use of the Ascend TM brace.

happen to flights, based on how the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handles launches.” Generally, two hours before and two hours after a launch, the FAA closes the airspace around the spaceport. “Airline flights get delayed and rerouted,” Firmo notes. “Aircraft spend extra time in the air, increas- ing fuel costs.” Quantifying those costs proved aston- ishing. “For extra fuel alone, when we ran simulations for Cape Canaveral and Cecil Spaceport, the cost

Age, those impacts are bound to keep rising. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Business in Daytona Beach, Florida, researchers are calculating the financial impacts of space launches on aviation. Rodrigo Firmo, a graduate research assistant and MBA candidate, presented


Based on a flexible, aerospace-grade composite material used for aircraft wings and fuselages, an innovative knee brace developed by a recent Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University graduate promises to improve orthopedic rehabilitation. The key to the lightweight Ascend™ brace is Mike Geldart’s patent-pending Varying Radius Spring technology, which provides continuous assistance to the quadriceps and helps strengthen muscles. Geldart, a mechanical engineering graduate, recently won first prize at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Ireland for his invention. The Ascend™ composite is a carbon fiber more flexible than a metal spring. When the wearer sits, mechanical energy is stored and released back into the leg when the wearer stands. “When you reduce load on muscles, you reduce contact forces in the joints that are the primary cause of knee pain,” says Geldart, who designed his first prototype following a go-kart racing accident and knee surgery. Twenty student athletes participated in a pilot study to test muscle activity. With the 3D printed brace, which was custom-made to each user, sensors measured a 30 percent increase in muscle activation, according to Geldart and fellow students Tyler Farnese and Walker Hobson. Christine Dailey, a Ph.D. candidate, is pursuing further validation. Geldart, CEO of GRD Biomechanics, has won two $10,000 prizes — the Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge and Embry-Riddle’s Launch Your Venture competition. / DEBORAH CIRCELLI


preliminary results at an international conference at ESTACA University in France. The research — directed by faculty members Janet Tinoco and Chunyan Yu — looked at two scenarios: a launch by Virgin Galactic from the Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, and an Atlas launch at Cape Canaveral. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two takes off horizon- tally, whereas the Atlas rockets launch vertically, so they affect the national airspace in different ways. As a first step, the team captured a real-world snapshot of the national airspace over both locations on a particular day: May 2, 2017. They leveraged special fast-time simulation software — the Jeppesen Total Airspace and Airport Modeller (TAAM) — with help from Carlos Castro and col- leagues at the Next-Generation


was between $10,000 and $30,000 per launch that airlines cumulatively pay for extra fuel in each of those two locations every time a space launch closes the airspace,” Firmo says, assuming a fuel cost of $1.51 per gallon. “Although these results are preliminary, they provide a starting point in determining potential impacts to the airlines.” Based on the current simu- lation scenarios, by 2027, extra fuel costs could rise to $200,000 per launch, and by 2037, the price tag for airlines could be a whopping $300,000, he says. / GINGER PINHOLSTER




FALL 2018

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