Our Islands, Our Future

College freshman Ethan Covello completed his Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) STEMworks™  Summer Internship at the Hawai’i Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL). The mission of HSFL is to promote space engineering and scientific research. They develop, launch, and operate small spacecraft from the Hawaiian Islands to accelerate the validation of new space technologies. HSFL also promotes synergistic collaborations between educational, governmental, and corporate institutions interested in space exploration.

Amber Imai, HSFL avionics engineer and STEMworks mentor, said, “Covello worked on creating a deployable ultra-high frequency amateur radio antenna for our Artemis CubeSat kit, which will serve as a platform for community college and undergraduate students to access space at a lower cost. Much of Covello’s work has been to create a design on SolidWorks and to 3D print the prototype. The previous design has proved to be unreliable due to its simplicity and Covello helped create something that is robust and reliable using a different method to deploy the antenna. We thank MEDB for the opportunity to work with such talented interns this summer!”

Covello explained, “I worked with several engineers and fellow interns to design the mechanical and structural aspects of the model satellite. I started this process by creating a Solidworks model of the deployer, then 3D printed my prototype to check for issues with my design and tested the deployer’s compatibility with the structure. After that, I detailed my findings and developed a new design that would fix the previous design’s flaws. My deployment system works through a gate system in which the antenna was attached. The gate keeps the antenna coiled into the base of the deployer using a nylon string. This string is attached to a resistor and when the resistor is activated the string melts, releasing the gate which releases the antenna.”

Reflecting on his internship Covello said, “Through working with seasoned engineers who guided me through using complex machinery and software, I was able to gain a new understanding of what being an engineer means. I will carry these new skills with me throughout my undergraduate education and continue to develop these skills to help prepare for a future career in mechanical engineering.”

My STEMworks Internship allowed me to develop my passion for engineering. Thank you MEDB!
Ethan Covello, STEMworks™ Summer Intern