ENGS 88 Honors Thesis (AB Students)

Degree Program


Year of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Laura Ray

Document Type

Thesis (Senior Honors)

Publication Date

Spring 6-7-2021


Once dropped into the ocean, SAVER will autonomously navigate towards the Advanced Next-Generation Emergency Locator beacon, worn by every NASA astronaut, that emits a 121.5 MHz distress signal. Using a rotating directional loop antenna SAVER is able to detect and identify the direction of the distress beacon and navigate itself towards the signal source. The autonomous navigation system is dependent on several electrical, and mechanical systems to function properly and presents a novel systems engineering problem. Given testing limitations, NASA requires that SAVER is designed to operate indoors and with an umbilical power supply. The radio direction finding (RDF) system demonstrated the ability to accurately identify the direction of a 121.5MHz distress signal. Upon completion, SAVER demonstrated the ability to accurately navigate towards a distress signal with approximately a 50% success rate when starting in the forward direction. Unsuccessful tests were primarily caused by mechanical issues with the antenna rotator and power cable.