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2016 - 2017

Theia maiden flight

Bird's-eye view of the "bird"


Theia close up

Theseus and Theia are two custom planes built by Cornell University Unmanned Air Systems (CUAir) from 2015 to 2017. Compared to Icarus and Eos, Theseus and Theia are much more modular for easy assembly and disassembly. Other than their wings, the planes are not composite-based.

I joined CUAir as a member of the airframe subteam as a freshman in September 2014 and have stayed on the team ever since, In 2015 I switched to the mechanical subteam.

My primary task for Theseus and Theia development was to lead the design of a 2-axis gimbal for the camera, design and fabricate the majority of the payload system, a protecting dome for the camera, the pitch mechanism for the antenna tracker, and other plane accessories. The antenna tracker is a 2-axis actuated system for maintaining the antenna direction during a flight.

The payload system was designed to be easily manufacturable using rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters. The final design was a weight-reduced modular system made from poplar plywood. The pictures below shows from the front to the back: the battery, airdrop, and electronics compartment.

2017 - Nosecone Render 3 Full Fuselage.J

Theia payload system render


Control panel close up

The 2-axis gimbal system holds a camera at the rear of the plane. It's a light weight design using carbon fiber and aluminum plates. Housing the gimbal and camera is a protective dome which can be easily disassembled externally.


Render of 2-axis gimbal design


Fabricated 2-axis gimbal with camera

Rough Plane Assembly Side.PNG

Theseus full plane side view with dimensions in inch

Rough Plane Assembly top.PNG

Theseus full plane top view with dimensions in inch


Theseus (without rear dome) on catapult

The pitch mechanism of the antenna tracker allows antennas to pitch up and down while holding its current position when not moving. A worm gear is used to stop rotation mechanically without using motors. Gear ratio is selected such that the antennas pitch at appropriate speeds.


Rendered antenna tracker pitch mechanism


Rendered antenna tracker pitch mechanism with housing


Rendered full antenna tracker


Fabricated antenna tracker


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