Air and Space Research (ASR)


Air and Space Research (ASR)


2015-2016 Project:
UNL’s Air and Space Research (ASR) Team will be returning for its tenth year in 2016. Under the supervision of Dr. Carl Nelson, the team has formed two groups to work on projects featured in NASA’s Micro-g NExT Program. The program challenges undergraduate students to design, build, and present a project based on current obstacles in space exploration, while teaching students the importance of teamwork, communication, and problem solving in the engineering design process.

Team Leader:
Luke Monhollon
Luke Monhollon
Faculty Adviser:
Carl Nelson
Dr. Carl Nelson


ASR Teams

Gap Spanner Boom

The Gap Spanner Boom Team proposes an innovative design fulfilling the design parameters of the gap spanner device specified by NASA’s Micro-G NEXT program. A part of Johnson Space Center, the program has requested a device capable of producing a temporary structure allowing astronauts to traverse from the Orion capsule to the Asteroid Redirect Vehicle. The device created by the design team meshes interconnected leaves and crossbars to create a boom capable of expanding eight times the compressed length without compromising the structural integrity. After acquiring research data, the experiment will provide a stepping-stone for the development of more advanced extendable structures.

Anchoring Device for Regolith (ADR)

The ADR team proposes a distinctive design to address the requirements of an anchoring device for regolith. This Micro-G NExT challenge calls for an anchoring device capable of securing a tether to regolith in microgravity. The proposed design features a helix-enclosed stake that can be screwed into the ground by a user who applies torque on the handle. In time, the results from this experiment will augment mechanical understanding of these devices and accompany development of NASA’s asteroid exploration equipment.

Air and Space Research Team

Adviser: Dr. Carl Nelson - Associate Professor for Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Carl Nelson

Boom Team

Nathan Borcyk
Omaha native Nathan Borcyk is a second year Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He is involved in collegiate intramurals and spends his free time playing piano and hanging out with friends.

Jack Fiedler
Jack Fiedler grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jack is currently a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  His interest in air and space research was sparked when he was introduced to the Game Changing Development program at the NASA Langley Research Center during the summer of 2013.  At Langley that summer he contributed to data collection in both the CubeSAT project and NASA’s Fire Blanket.  In his free time he enjoys to go fly fishing and camp wherever possible. Ultimately, Jack hopes to work for NASA or Tesla Motors.  He aspires to one day start his own engineering firm; designing products and solving engineering problems that will change the world for the better.

Will Fleener
Will Fleener is a Computer Engineering Major here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a freshman who originates from Michigan, but moved to Nebraska the summer of 2015. This is his first year on the Air and Space Research Team and he is excited to work on the projects. Will has always had an interest in space and space exploration. It began when as a small child his father showed him old Wernher Von Braun films about space station designs and moon bases that Braun made in collaboration with Disney in the 50s. From then on he was hooked and now avidly follows NASA developments and discoveries, as well as those in the private sector. In the future Will hopes to establish a career in the private field of space flight and make his contribution to pushing man to the stars and beyond.

Luke Monhollon
Luke Monhollon is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, majoring in Biological Systems Engineering.  Being very active on campus, Luke is known for being a project manager for Air and Space Research, an engineering design group on campus, as well as analyzing the effects of mechanical and chemical stimuli on stem cells within Dr. Jung Yul Lim’s research laboratory.  Beyond doing research as part of the ASR and other lab groups, he is active in schools around southeastern Nebraska instilling science and technology interests in K-12 students.  Promoting STEM fields is done through presentations and hands on activities to show the students have the ability to be successful in these areas.  Outside of science and engineering related activities, Luke enjoys volunteering at the homeless shelter donation sorting center and gardening during the summer months.

Allison Porter
Allison Porter is a junior Biological Systems Engineering major with an emphasis in biomedical engineering from Sterling, NE. She is interested in space research and has ambitions to become a biomedical engineer for NASA. Specifically, she would like to apply her engineering skills to aid in space exploration in research, and possibly working with astronauts to improve space suit design and make spacecraft more habitable for humans.

ADR Team

Claire Ashley
Claire Ashley is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major at UNL. She is fascinated with space and has always been highly interested in working in a related field after graduation. Studying Mechanical Engineering, you do not gain a lot of exposure to these concepts through the coursework. This opportunity provides the chance to pursue what her passions while simultaneously taking classes toward my major. In the future, she would like to work with materials engineering and how it relates to space research.

Zac Boyer
Zac Boyer is entering his senior year of studying Mechanical Engineering.

Brandon Jackson
Brandon Jackson, from Tobias, Nebraska, is currently a freshman studying Mechanical Engineering through the Honors Program. He has been interested in space research ever since he was little and has always aspired to know more about how the universe functions. After graduation, he plans on attending fighter wing school through the Air Force and using personal experience gained to become an engineer for a major space corporation.

Amy Price
Amy Price is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in National Security Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She decided to get involved in space research because it has an impact on so many different fields of study.  She is particularly interested in the space domain in correlation to the realm of national security.  In the future she hopes to pursue a career in reconnaissance space technology.

Ethiyal Raj Wilson
Ethiyal Raj Wilson is a junior Electrical Engineering major at UNL who is originally from Aurora, Colorado. He’s interested in space research and design because he sees space as the most interesting frontier that humans can possibly explore. On top of that, he believes space exploration is what will propel humanity towards a brighter future.

Kellon Ronspies
Kellon Ronspies of Pierce, Nebraska is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering. He’s interested in space exploration because of the opportunities it provides for future generations. He believes that space exploration provides a better understanding of not only our solar system, but also planet Earth. Upon graduation, he wants to focus on advancing commercialized space flight in the aviation/aerospace industry.


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