Hopena Paekukui 2022

Hopena (Gabriel) was born on O’ahu and grew up in Kaneohe, but moved to the Big Island to attend high school. He attends Grand Canyon University pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. His goals are to inspire people to do good by create machines that meaningfully contribute to humanity, especially to the people of Hawai’i. In his free time, Hopena enjoys 3D printing, building computers, going to the beach, and painting custom shoes.

Home Island: Big Island of Hawai’i and O’ahu

High School: 

Institution when accepted: Grand Canyon University

Akamai Project: Designing a Universal Instrument Transportation Cart for Nasmyth and Cassegrain Instruments

Project Site: M. Keck Observatory, Waimea HI

Mentor: Truman Wold

Project Abstract:

The W.M. Keck Observatory atop the summit of Maunakea consists of two domes, each housing a telescope.  Instruments are installed on each telescope to observe the night sky.  These instruments can weigh up to 6 tons, with average dimensions of 8 ft in height and 8 ft in width.  A clean room in the Keck-I dome is used to perform maintenance on the instruments every 5–15 years.  However, instruments in the Keck-II dome must be craned down three stories to the dome floor and onto carts specifically made for each instrument, before traveling to the clean room across the observatory.  With 10 instruments split between both domes, and each instrument having its own unique cart, storage space becomes slim.  Thus a singular, universal cart used for all instruments would optimize storage and transportation.  The goal of this project was to design a cart that would transport both Nasmyth and Cassegrain instruments across the dome floors and hallway to the clean room.  The cart would need to support up to 12,000 lb and fit within the observatory hallway.  Fortunately, a common feature among all instruments are their crane points.  Thus, the recommended design for the universal instrument cart consisted of a jib crane at each corner of the cart frame that would suspend the instrument above ground during transportation.  Stress analysis and finite element analysis were performed on the cart cranes, frame, wheels, and the rail system the cart will travel along, with a factor-of-safety of 3 for yield and 5 for ultimate strength being considered.