Skip to main content

Summit Engineered Automation Sponsored Project Seeing Success

NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge Update

As a supporter of STEM, and education in general, Summit Engineered Automation was proud to support Stillwater Area High School (SAHS) earlier this year in a special project for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

This challenge invited students to attempt pioneering new and uncharted ways for NASA to explore other worlds by presenting ideas and design for man-pmanowered rover vehicles. SAHS organized a team of talented and ambitious students to attempt contributing to this effort, while allowing the students to hone their skills in preparation for their own bright futures.

Summit Engineered Automation is happy to report that not only is the local high school team successfully working through the project, but they are the first high school teams in Minnesota to participate in such a high level challenge. As the experience draws to a successful conclusion, the team has proven to rise above all expectations and deliver outstanding results.

The mission was to design a man-powered rover vehicle capable of maneuvering through the terrain of various extraterrestrial landscapes. With limited resources, the team dug deep to design and then build a working prototype of what may very well be a contribution to the future of space exploration as we know it.

The team reports that they have finished their second 40 page technical report recently and have presented their work to the NASA judging team with glowing reviews. There is still work to be done, as the team is finishing the details for their final video submission, but everyone is feeling the rewarding exhaustion that comes with such an undertaking as they near celebration for their accomplishment. 

With the end on the horizon, the SAHS team is already reminiscing in their progress and success after a long and extremely busy year.  They have learned more than anyone could have ever imagined and the results are something special.

As hoped, the Stillwater Area High School student team has been able to learn real-word engineering and design skills while working on experiencing out-of-the-box thinking and carving out personal skills in teamwork and communication. Such a project would be daunting for even college students, and yet, these high schoolers have proven themselves to be more than just a young, ambitious generation. There is real promise in the team’s results.

The vehicle the team designed is intended to be powered by one female and one male student, manually pedaling as with a bicycle. As a human powered vehicle, there are certainly potentials and limitations, but the opportunity it presents for NASA is much more diverse than a vehicle powered by other finite resources. This could bring a new approach to future manned space missions, as it opens up previously unexplored and unattainable options.

Summit Engineered Automation is composed of experienced professionals, and it brings us great joy to in some small way assist in passing the torch to the rising generation. We applaud the student team in their progress and personal growth as they have not only worked through the scientific aspects of the project, but have also refined their own personal character through the challenges of presenting their ideas and plans to others. Above this, the students have also developed teamwork and camaraderie that will undoubtedly remain through years and shape their individual futures.  

Our team at Summit Engineered Automation hopes to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers, and this project has been a prime example of the good a custom automation and consulting company like ours can do in their local community beyond simply offering products and services. This success has inspired us to continue supporting similar projects in the future, and we hope to see others in our industry do the same.

We look forward to seeing the continued success of the Stillwater Area High School team and will share the news as things develop further.