Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Richard Meyer

Second Advisor

Peter Gustafson


This report, and corresponding project, addresses the fact that there are not many student experiments with controlling real spacecrafts due to the scarceness of the craft, cost, risk, and finite fuel supply. This project demonstrates the possibility of a classroom substitute for students to understand how landers would operate on planetary bodies. In order to achieve flight from the drone, there were two separate designs produced, the electrical and structural system, that were integrated together to form a full prototype. The performance of the electric ducted fans (EDFs) as well as the batteries were tested to ensure that the components selected could satisfy the goal of the project. The lander was operable through an external controller and an open-source software, Betaflight. By testing the prototype lander, flight was achieved where an average flight time of 5 seconds was documented along with a maximum altitude of 1 foot. This lander lays the groundwork for future projects as there are many recommendations that stemmed from the design process as well as testing of the electric ducted fan lander to improve the functionality.


Co-authored with:

Alexandra Masterson

Emily Oskielunas

Anna Timm

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access