WSU student receives Space Grant fellowship for unique UAV research

Christopher Chaney, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Washington State University, received a Washington NASA Space Grant Fellowship to work on a novel Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The research project in which he is involved focuses on developing a remotely piloted aircraft to demonstrate flight under power from a PEM fuel cell and liquid hydrogen. If successful, the team will be the first university group to do so.

Liquid hydrogen is a clean, lightweight fuel that can be used to keep an aircraft aloft for several days.

The aircraft purpose-designed by the team for the project is a large 5.5m wingspan UAV. This vehicle will be used as a test-bed to familiarize the team with liquid hydrogen handling, prove that flight is capable with this revolutionary fuel, and facilitate the production of future long-endurance UAV’s by the research team.

Even in its initial configuration, the current aircraft can be utilized for atmospheric sampling, forestry, and crop research. The principal investigators on the project are Associate Professor Konstantin Matveev and Assistant Professor Jacob Leachman.

(For more information, see the WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering Highlights.)

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