Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Kristina Lemmer

Second Advisor

Jennifer Hudson


The need for a cold gas propulsion system is crucial to the scientific industry which allows for maneuvering and stabilizing a high altitude research balloon and propose an inexpensive, light weight design that researchers can reproduce. The methodology to the design of this system was based on factors that are all dependent upon one another. The parameters that directed the decisions made throughout this design project was the thrust needed to rotate the unit, and the allowable weight permitted by federal regulations. The frame was designed with a gas storage system, gas transmission system, and nozzle assembly which was integrated into a single unit with allocated room for cameras and sensors. The conditions within the tank, storage system, and nozzles were determined by designing a converging nozzle while also determining the correct pressure and flow rate to sustain a desired thrust impulse. The design was validated using Autodesk Simulation CFD and ANSYS for the nozzle and Autodesk Inventor software for the structural analysis of the frame and tank. The value of this project is to aid in the reconnaissance and analysis of high altitude conditions as well as provide a stable and controllable platform for testing equipment that can be ultimately applied to space applications.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Mitch Brownell Thesis PowerPoint.pdf (1032 kB)
Powerpoint Presentation