Earlier this May, Dr. Daniel Loveless led a team of 13 undergraduate and graduate students as they successfully launched and retrieved a high altitude balloon that peaked at an altitude of approximately 108,000 feet. The class, made up of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors, spent their spring semester designing, developing, testing, and reporting for a spacecraft subsystem, all in preparation for this pivotal moment.
“The primary objective was to launch a balloon payload to approximately 100,000 ft with communications and tracking systems for ground-tracking from launch to landing. To this end, the launch was a success,” Loveless said.
The balloon’s 4.5 hour journey began in Chickamauga, GA. The craft travelled 150 miles before landing in Griffin, GA.
As the team worked throughout the semester, they relied heavily on research and technical literature to create their designs.
“The students learned how to navigate through highly technical concepts, critique the value of technical literature, and implement designs based on published findings,” Loveless explained.
In addition to their enhanced research skills, the students gained invaluable experience easily transferable to the workplace.
“Teamwork was a BIG deal. However, the students also learned about real, and extreme, design constraints, beyond the typical ideal analysis typically covered in courses. For example, designing a structural sound system to handle the 100mph wind speeds encountered, and reliable electronics to operate at -50C. These are skills highly valued in the workplace and I think are invaluable lessons learned (through success and failures of designs),” added Loveless.
Students who worked on the project were Saama Davies, Benjamin Evans, Michael Holloway, Daniel Johnson, Matthew Joplin, Daniel Kelly, Grady McDonald, Geoffrey Nelson, Amee Patel, Nichole Shelton, Joshua Suggs, Skylar Tinney, and Matthew Webb.
Dr. Daniel Loveless joined the CECS faculty in 2014. A native Chattanoogan, Dr. Loveless returned to his hometown following several years of graduate studies at his alma mater, Vanderbilt University, where he served as an instructor, senior research engineer, and Research Assistant Professor in the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics. Dr. Loveless has authored 79 publications in the areas of modeling, design, and testing of integrated circuits for the evaluation of radiation effects in advanced technologies spanning from 500 nm to 14 nm features sizes. While at CECS his teaching and research have focused on advanced electronics, embedded systems, and integrated circuits.
Dr. Loveless’ research initiatives have been funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, NASA, Honeywell, Inc., and Boeing Aerospace among others, and he currently has grants in review by Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Loveless chairs the College’s ABET Taskforce, and led CECS’s efforts to retool effective course assessment methods. He is a member of the University-wide Departmental Honors Committee and is the Community Liaison for the Electrical Engineering Department. Through his efforts, the College has expanded its outreach mission with a number of community partners including the Hamilton County Department of Education, the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, CO.LAB, and the Challenger STEM Learning Center. He is Senior Member of IEEE, and serves as co-advisor to the College’s student chapter of that professional organization.
Dr. Loveless and his wife, Dr. Mary Loveless are the parents of Olivia Claire and William Gage. In their free time, the Loveless family enjoys running, swimming, cycling, SUPing, stargazing, adventuring and most anything in great outdoors.