Kate Gleason College of Engineering and ITT Space Systems Division team up for multidisciplinary senior design projects

Local company cements engineering design relationship with RIT

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The Kate Gleason College of Engineering and ITT Space Systems Division formally announced that the space systems giant is sponsoring a series of research and development projects for students as part of their coursework prior to graduation. Teams of engineering students in the Multidisciplinary Senior Design course will focus on real-world projects such as satellite thermal heater controls for aerial surveillance starting in winter quarter.

“There has been a long, informal relationship between RIT and ITT,” says Arnel Alverio, engineer, ITT Space Systems Division. “Historically, ITT has hired many students from RIT, and that has created a natural allegiance among alumni and the current student population. This new arrangement formalizes ITT’s commitment towards the Rochester higher education community.”

As part of their graduation requirements, senior engineering students would complete the design project using a cross-functional team from engineering disciplines. In the first quarter, the team would assess the project scope and define requirements, implementing the design solution in the following quarter.

“For example, RIT and ITT both have premier institutions in the area of imaging science for remote sensing systems, with RIT excelling in education and ITT focusing on the building and data processing of remote sensing systems,” says Alverio. “The collaboration between the two institutions allows RIT students to get first-hand experience with the design and operation of real systems, and ITT benefits from the innovation, and eventual employment of many RIT students.”

ITT will suggest design projects related to technologies of particular interest to the company, specifically enhancements to existing capabilities. These include: increased pointing accuracy of airborne aerial reconnaissance and enhancements to thermal management of satellites.

One such project, the Satellite Thermal Heater Controller, will begin in winter quarter. The project will involve systems modeling, control system programming, mechanical and thermal design, to produce a prototype for the next generation of imaging satellites, says Anthony Berwin, a fifth-year mechanical engineering student and team lead for the project.

“The success of this project will benefit all parties involved. It will provide a chance for the students to have real design and assembly experience as well as gaining connections with ITT and D3 Engineering,” says Berwin. “Also, this project may lead to additional projects sponsored by ITT in the future.”

ITT Space Systems Division is headquartered in Rochester. Space Systems was formed four years ago when ITT acquired Kodak’s Remote Sensing Systems operation which has been in Rochester for more than 50 years.

“ITT Corporation is committed to the development of future employees by partnering with the local universities that provide a significant portion of our workforce,” says Alverio. “Through various initiatives, including sponsorship of senior design projects, we hope to raise student awareness of ITT and our technologies, so they are more likely to consider us as a potential employer once they complete school. At the same time, we help shape the knowledge and experience of RIT students in order to produce more qualified potential employees.”