Student aims for the stars

MSOE student Josh Furey is aiming for the stars – literally. The sophomore mechanical engineering major and astrophotography enthusiast is a three-time recipient of Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium scholarships: most recently the Elijah High-Altitude Balloon launch team.

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Sophomore Josh Furey with the MSOE team’s rocket, which won “Coolest Looking Design” honors.

WSGC awards dozens of scholarships, fellowships, internships and research funds each academic year to affiliate college and university students across the state. The Elijah High-Altitude Balloon project is an innovative NASA project that provides students an opportunity to fly science experiments in a near-space environment. Opportunities for the 2017-18 school year will be announced Nov. 13.

Students chosen to participate in the project have historically been on one of two teams: the payload team, which designs and builds the science payloads to be launched and retrieved from a high-altitude balloon; and the launch team, which ensures the successful ascent of the balloon, which could reach heights of up to 100,000 feet or more before bursting.

Furey has served on both the payload and launch teams – the latter most recently. In 2016 Furey was one of five student-interns on the balloon payload team, whose missions included assessing the health of ground vegetation by using infrared camera technology.

“The launch team takes care of the more logistical aspects with the launch, such as weather, tracking, and filling the balloon, to name a few,” Furey said.

Furey also participated in the Midwest High Power Rocketry Competition, a NASA-sponsored program in which students were challenged to design and construct an “adaptable” single stage, dual deploy high-power rocket system that will fly to the same highest possible altitude on two distinctly different motors.

“The rockets are about 6 feet tall and travel between 5,000 and 7,000 feet into the air,” Furey said.  “We use GPS and a pressure accelerometer to wirelessly track the rocket from on the ground and we create the interface that lets us view the data in real time.”

MSOE’s team, the Raider Rocketeers, were ranked 10th in the competition and earned “Coolest Looking Design” honors.

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Astrophotography by Josh Furey

Originally from Superior, Wisconsin, Furey has always been interested in engineering. As a student at Superior High School he was active in Project Lead The Way and tried his hand at 3D modeling. Although he is studying mechanical engineering, Furey also enjoys aspects of electrical engineering as well. During the summer, Furey interned at Yaskawa America in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

In his free time, Furey enjoys the outdoors – camping, hiking, fishing and backpacking. An avid photographer, his images have been displayed at the Photographic Society of America National Convention. At MSOE he plays saxophone in the jazz band and is a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Furey is also an Eagle Scout and is part of the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America.

WSGC scholarship opportunities to support outstanding undergraduate students pursuing aerospace, space science, or other interdisciplinary space-related studies will be open for the 2018-19 year starting Nov. 13, 2017.

To learn more about opportunities offered by the WSGC contact Dr. William Farrow at farroww@msoe.edu

 

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