P18101: CubeSat Solar Sail

Planning & Execution

Table of Contents

Intellectual Property Considerations

The intent of this project is to keep as much information as possible open source. Once completed, the aim of the project is to generate notoriety for Rochester Institute of Technology and the Space Exploration team, and to keep the design open source and accessible to any research groups, engineers, etc. that wish to create similar projects.

Team Setup

The team collectively discussed its members' key strengths and areas of weakness, and used this document to assign each team member to a specific role within the project. While main roles are outlined below, sometimes team members will operate outside their subject matter and contribute to different areas if deemed appropriate by the team.

Mike Berezny: Communications & Purchasing

Key strengths are in areas of design, programming, and purchasing.

Victor Braescu: Project Manager

Key strengths include presentation skills and finite element analysis.

Andrew Lewis: Lead Engineer

Key strengths include mechanical design and fabrication.

Eric Pareis: Facilitator

Key strengths are in areas of idea genesis and social coordination.

Team Values and Norms

Team values and norms were collectively generated by the group, and can be viewed below, or as a separate document here. When team members feel that violations of the team norms are being made, they will first and foremost discuss the issues with each other before bringing the problems to an outside source such as the team guide or instructors.


Team members will show up within ten minutes of agreed upon start times, or ten minutes prior for design reviews. Members should give reasonable notice for any absences or tardiness.


Assignments are to be completed by each team member by the agreed upon deadlines, and in a way that allows for accuracy validation by other engineers. If a team member needs assistance or is unable to complete an assignment, they will notify and/or request help from team members or faculty.


Even if just for affirmation, team members should respond to communications to ensure the rest of the team that each message has been properly conveyed. Expectations are to be made clear, and coordination meetings are to be held at the close of each class to identify future tasks to complete. Team members should let others articulate their thoughts entirely before interjecting.

Constructive Criticism

Team members should be open to constructive criticism from each other, as members may not always see their own issues or struggles. When ideas are proposed, team members should not accept them without validation.

File Nomenclature/EDGE Updates

Any changes made to EDGE pages should always be previewed before updates are made. When uploading files, team members should add a version number of the scheme v1_0, v1_1, v1_2, and so on, as well as add their initials for any individual assignments such as homework. Do not include "." anywhere in file names, and instead opt for characters such as "_", as this could lead to display issues online.

Project Plans & Schedules

The current project schedule for the second part of Multidisciplinary Senior Design is based on the planned schedule provided by the faculty on the MSD team. As the project is still in its early stages, some time allotments as well as the order of tasks may change.

MSD I Project Schedule

MSD I Project Schedule

Risk Assessment and Growth Curves

For the problem definition phase a large number of risks were identified. These risks were all evaluated by each member of the team and severity and likelihood numbers were determined. The importance of each risk was found by multiplying the likelihood by the severity. From this list the The top 5 risks identified during the problem definition phase were analyzed.

Top 5 Risks

Top 5 Risks

Full List of Identified Risks

Full List of Identified Risks

Other Team Resources

Planned Meeting Space: MSD Design Center

Planned Build & Test Space: Bamboo Room, ME Machine Shop, The Construct

Peer Reviews

Following the completion of each design review, the team members completed peer review forms on MyCourses, and the feedback was collectively discussed as a team. Using this feedback, each member is able to identify areas that they can continue performing well in, as well as areas in which they can improve themselves.

Problem Definition Review

Michael Berezny: Some of Michael's strengths this section were a thoroughness in completing tasks and finalizing documents and Edge pages. He did well to help other team members prioritize on current objectives during meetings. A concrete area to improve for Michael is to successfully install an SVN client on his laptop. He also needs to work on his monotony during presentations and easily discouraged temperament.

Victor Braescu: Victor has done a good job so far in communicating with the customer about their requirements and leading the team. Some areas to improve upon are not worrying as much about future tasks and verbal communication. He sometimes will mix up words when he communicates and has decided to join the Toastmasters club at RIT to improve his overall communication.

Andrew Lewis: Andrew's key competencies were in the areas of communication, presentation and keeping on top of EDGE updates. At times, Andrew focused too much on minor details and lost sight of the team's more immediate needs, and was quick to grow frustrated with some tasks. For the next phase, Andrew will focus more on being patient with his activities, and on keeping the team's big picture goals in mind.

Eric Pareis: Eric's key contributions were in the areas of idea generation, adaptability to complete a large range of tasks, and an excellent work ethic. The main criticisms of Eric's performance were that his schedule is very busy and the team would benefit from a faster response time to emails and messages. Additionally, he could improve by taking the initiative on more tasks.

Systems Design Review

Michael Berezny: Michael's primary benefit to the team is a strong focus on short term objectives. He did well to ensure that tasks were finalized and documented. This phase he performed some valuable analysis and purchasing. His biggest areas for improvement are in managing nerves prior to presentations and remaining positive.

Victor Braescu: Based on the feedback, Victor has done a good job leading the group during the systems design review. He is always open to feedback and tries to stay optimistic about the project. He will continue to improve his communication skills to ensure he is understood correctly. He will also make sure to always schedule meetings with the team in advance unless it is an emergency.

Andrew Lewis: Andrew's key strengths during this phase were in visualizing concepts and making sure that work was completed thoroughly as well as in an aesthetically pleasing manner. However, this focus on visual presentation could sometimes hinder the team's progress, and he should continue to make efforts to remain calm when issues pop up with the project.

Eric Pareis: Eric's primary strengths were identified as concept generation and research. In addition his work on prototyping sail layouts from the blankets was unexpected by most of the team and will save time in the coming weeks. His ability to easily fill in as project manager in Victor's absence is also of great benefit to the team. His main identified weaknesses were speaking too quickly during presentations and getting too involved in his individual work. This can lead to him going down rabbit holes and completing tasks the group should have done together, leading to some repeated work. In addition, his research does not always yield significant results and his honesty can be harsh on very rare occasions.

Preliminary Detailed Design

Michael Berezny: Michael's key benefit to the team this phase was his experience in drafting practices. He also helps make sure every stage of the design process is documented. He continues to struggle keeping his negative attitude in check.

Victor Braescu: Victor has done a good job of keeping the project on track and has resolved conflicts between team members quickly. He has been taking feedback well, staying positive during the project and has improved his communication skills. He should continue to focus on the full picture of the project and not mixing up words. He has given two speeches in the Toastmasters club and they have helped with his presentation skills.

Andrew Lewis: Andrew's work in designing the deployment mechanism and 3D printing the frame a deployment mechanism components was very useful. He put in a large amount of work to ensure that the entire team was able to meet the goals decided upon in time for the preliminary detailed design review. However, Andrew sometimes worked a bit too much in isolation, and designed some parts in a manner that did not allow for easy drawing/manufacturing. In the future, he should gather more input from other members regarding the design so as to improve oversight and manufacturability.

Eric Pareis: Eric's work with sail creation and defining test procedures were very helpful during this phase. His other work doing feasibility, the presentation, and updating the Edge page allowed other group members to focus on their assigned tasks. He should continue taking on more responsibilities but should check in with the rest of the team periodically during his work. In addition, one time he failed to get something for a team goal and should communicate better with the team if that is going to happen again.


Project Reviews

Design Review Documents, Gate Reviews

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