Future Space Mission Design


Cleveland State University


Copper Class (2021 – 2022)


Austin R Corlett, Electrical Engineering
Joseph Sippola, Mechanical Engineering
Jonathan M Celestina, Mechanical Engineering
Jordan T. Klag, Mechanical Engineering
Trevor Gallagher Edwards, Electrical Engineering
Kyle Wiesmore, Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Cassie Bowman, Associate Research Professor, School Of Earth and Space Exploration, ASU

Mr. Phillip Poinsatte, Aerospace Research Engineer in the Turbomachinery and Turboelectric Systems Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, in Cleveland, Ohio

Mr. Douglas Thurman, Aerospace Research Engineer in the Turbomachinery and Turboelectric Systems Branch at NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, in Cleveland, Ohio


Bogdan Kozul, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering for Cleveland State University


Psyche is an asteroid found in our solar system that is believed to be the remains of a planetesimal, which is a small leftover portion of a planet that was destroyed. Studying Psyche and other planetesimals is a subject of great interest, as they are believed to hold the very building blocks of planetary formation. Research and analysis of the characteristics of this asteroid is the goal of NASA and Arizona State University’s Psyche orbiter.

While the mission plan for the spacecraft is already determined as it is scheduled to launch in August of 2022, it is reasonable to assume that NASA would one day return to Psyche to conduct further research. As a group, our goal is to design various components that would aid in the execution of this hypothetical future mission. The students at Cleveland State University were split into two teams, with one focusing on designing a landing system, and the other focusing on a sample return system.

LAnding System Design

The design incorporates both inspirations of shape and interior composition into one lander. It incorporates a cylindrical-tubular shape and angled sweep into the body of the probe. This design incorporates the use of the crush impact absorption in the interior of the leg components and the use of the socket joints for both the foot of the lander and the legs of the lander. Three internal impact absorption legs (two small arms and one primary landing leg) are angled to absorb impact force when landing.  This design also includes two socket joints on the ends of the two small arms of the landing leg to allow for more articulation of the leg when contracting on impact. Similarly, a pin joint was added to the top of the primary landing leg component to account for more extreme landing configurations. Figure (1) shows the full view of the Final Design as well as all the components of the landing gear. Figure (2) shows the cross-section view of the primary landing leg of our design. Figure (3) shows the cross-section view of a small arm of this design.

Figure (1) – Final Design: Full view

Fig. (2) – Final Design: Primary Landing Leg Cross-Section View

Fig. (3) – Final Design: Small Arm Cross-Section View

This work was created in partial fulfillment of Arizona State University Capstone Courses. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission (https://psyche.asu.edu). “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.