The Latest from the STF-1 Team

Posted on by .

The development of the first CubeSat to be built in the state of West Virginia, Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1), is underway. On April 30, 2015, the STF-1 development team held its first table-top review to walk through the mission plan, technical objectives, components, budgets (mass, power, volume, communications, and cost), risks and schedule. The team also identified all major system components. These components include the GOMspace A3200 on-board computer, L-3 Cadet radio, batteries and electrical power system from Clydespace and Pumpkin 3U Chassis. This review was a huge success!

In addition, in late April 2015, the STF-1 team was contacted by the NASA Education Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) effort, with respect to a potential launch opportunity, and could launch as early as November 2016. The team is anxiously waiting to hear if we have a launch.

In the meantime, the STF-1 team is pushing forward. The team is actively working on power simulations to ensure there is sufficient power generation to support all mission objectives, development of an Advanced CubeSat Simulation Library (ACSL), initiating development of all four science instruments, and beginning to purchase spacecraft components.

The development and demonstration of the ACSL is the primary mission objective and is aimed to reduce hardware reliance and provide a rapidly deployable CubeSat development and test environment. We are excited about our simulation approach and will go into more details later as the architecture matures. In the meantime, take some time and submit your best ideas to design the Mission Patch for West Virginia’s first CubeSat in SPACE!

Mission Website: www.stf1.com

Mission Patch Design: http://www.wvspacegrant.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Mission-Patch-Design-STF1.pdf

-The STF-1 Team

Intern Q&A: Georgette Ball and Samuel Talkington

Posted on by .

IMG_1796
Name: Georgette Ball
Home Town: Fairmont, W.Va.
High School Attended: Fairmont Senior High School
College: West Virginia University
Major: Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied for a NASA internship because I have always been intrigued by government services and wanted to have this opportunity to broaden my knowledge. My goal is to pursue a government related engineering job and I believe NASA would be a great opportunity to gain experience and come closer to attaining that goal.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am working with the WV Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) as a presentation developer. Programs such as SPOT are great organizations that reach out to younger generations and ignite interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.
What do you like most about working for NASA? If I had to choose what I like most so far it would definitely be the people and culture here at NASA IV&V. I feel very welcomed here and everyone is so helpful.

IMG_1731Name: Samuel Takington
Home Town: Clarksburg, W.Va.
High School Attended: Notre Dame High School
Why you applied for a NASA internship? Applying for a NASA internship gave me the opportunity to practice my skills with science and computer programming, which continue to grow daily. I applied expecting a great opportunity to interact with individuals who you genuinely feel are contributing to the betterment of humanity’s scientific endeavors. It’s an excellent college reference, and it’s simply an awesome experience that I will remember for years to come.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)?  This Summer I am working with the Space Launch System rocket engines team. The SLS is the “next generation” of rocketry that will, when completed, be responsible for the next manned space missions based out of America. I am helping to ensure that the algorithms behind the engine itself are sound and correct by creating applications in Java to automatically validate the math. It’s thrilling to be part of such a large picture, and to be tangibly contributing to the safety of America’s next astronauts.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The atmosphere is fairly relaxed and suited to my personality. It’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded people who share a passion for science and other similar interests.

 

 

 

Intern Q&A: Cortney Mercer and Nick Ohi

Posted on by .

IMG_1729
Name: Cortney Mercer
Home Town: Morgantown, WV
High School Attended/College: University High School/West Virginia University in the fall of 2014, planning to study mechanical and aerospace engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I have always been interested in STEM fields and interested in space flight, I hope to work for NASA, another space organization or an underwater robotics company in the future. This opportunity just helps me reach for my goals!
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am working with the Robotics Capabilities Development (CD) here at NASA IV&V to build a test-bed as well as develop procedures to perform verification and validation on computer vision software. I will be working with other high school and college interns here at the facility, as well as the members of the Robotic CD team to test different computer vision algorithms, this will be useful in situations such as asteroid redirect and automated satellite repair.
What do you like most about working for NASA? I like working for NASA because it gives me the opportunity to talk to experienced people in a field that I am interested in, it gives me the opportunity to learn about my potential career.

IMG_1737
Name:
Nick Ohi
Home Town: Morgantown, WV
High School Attended: Homeschooled
College Attending: West Virginia University
Semester/Year: Entering Senior Year / Finished Junior Year
Major: Dual Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I have always been very interested in space and everything STEM related. I would like to work for NASA or another organization involved in spaceflight for my career, so this opportunity allows me to gain experience pursuing that goal.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? My project is to work with the Robotics Capabilities Development (CD) team here at IV&V and develop a test-bed and document procedures for doing IV&V on robotic systems that involve computer vision. I will be working with other college and high school interns as well as member of the Robotics CD team test different computer vision algorithms in scenarios such as automated satellite repair and asteroid redirection.
What do you like most about working for NASA? Not only does this internship opportunity provide me with valuable experience towards my career goals, I really enjoy the work environment here at IV&V. Everyone, from the other interns to the permanent employees are all great people to work with.

 

 

 

 

Intern Q&A: Esha Halabe and Katie Warner

Posted on by .

IMG_1764
Name:
Esha Halabe
Home Town: Morgantown, West Virginia
High School Attended: Morgantown High School
College Attending: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Semester: 1st Semester Freshman
Major: Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied for a NASA internship to apply my learned textbook theory to real-world problems, to gain hands-on engineering practice in a professional work environment, and to explore various STEM fields.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Observatory relies on a robust Fault Management system. To verify and validate that system, I am helping the IV&V team generate a Database and Test Bed to analyze JWST’s many system and subsystem components. The goal of my project is to add to the overall assurance of the Fault Management system.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The best part about working for NASA is getting to be a part of such a hardworking and innovative team. We’re working toward developing groundbreaking systems and technology, and I’m learning something new every day.

IMG_1755
Name: Katherine Warner
Home Town: Morgantown
High School Attended/College: University High School/currently enrolled at West Virginia University, studying electrical engineering. She is in her sophomore year.
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I wanted to learn more about NASA and the work it does, explore potential careers with the agency, and get some “real-world” experience to help find the best career for me.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am comparing the simulation environments that test/will test MPCVs like Orion, the one being launched in December, before they are launched to ensure everything runs as it should in every situation.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The atmosphere is so much more than what I expected- to be honest I did not expect much so I wouldn’t be too impressed or displeased- and I cannot wait to spend most of my summer around such great people learning from knowledgeable but approachable and personable mentors.

 

 

 

Intern Q&A: Katherine Reid and Joshua Hiett

Posted on by .

IMG_1749
Name:
Katherine Reid
Home Town:
Bridgeport, W.Va.
High School or College: Bridgeport High School
Why you applied for a NASA Internship? Since childhood, I have been fascinated with the study of space. One day I hope to have a career with NASA, and this internship was the perfect opportunity to begin that journey.
What are you doing for NASA? I am working with the Ground Systems Development and Operations team (GSDO) for the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The GSDO program is the development effort that is aimed at upgrading a majority of the Kennedy Space Center Ground Systems to ensure that the center is ready to support future launches (both government and commercial) in the post-shuttle era.
What do you like most about working for NASA? It has given me a chance to work alongside professionals with experience in the field I want to pursue, aerospace engineering. I love the daily challenges and the opportunity to work with students who also share my passion for space exploration.

IMG_1721
Name:
Joshua Hiett
Home Town: Bloomery, W.Va.
High School: Hampshire High School
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied to gain the opportunity to expand my educational horizon and to open a career pathway towards a job field that I am extremely interested in continuing for the remainder of my life.
What are you doing for NASA? I will be working to improve a 4 wheeled all-terrain surface rover platform, Rover-X, which was built in 2012. My job is to redesign Rover-X’s software architecture from a manual computer input system into a field testable system utilizing an Xbox gamming controller to control the rover’s basic motor and robotic arm manipulation capabilities, and develop a central control station for camera feedback.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The environment is what I like most about working for NASA. There are so many opportunities to get first-hand experience with a vast number of people and network. There is a high level of energy within the staff and other interns here and everyone is polite and helpful. I am also looking forward to the many challenges to come within my internship and overcoming them with the help of my mentor.

 

 

Intern Q&A: Dalton Okel and Laura Ullom

Posted on by .

When the interns first arrived at NASA’s IV&V Program, we wanted to make sure that their experience here would be shared. We decided to pull together a few questions and asked the interns to give us the inside scoop on why they chose to apply at NASA. Here are a few of the results.

IMG_1772Name: Dalton Okel
Home Town: Fairmont, W.Va.
High School or College: Fairmont Senior High School and hopes to study aerospace engineering and computer science West Virginia University
Why you applied for a NASA internship? In previous years, I had been informed about the internship from previous interns Savannah Sims and Josh McPherson. When they described the projects they were working on to me, it interested me to look into the opportunity more. The projects they told me about were dealing with the fields of math and science, ranging from computer programming to robotics, which are my strongest fields in academics. After reading multiple descriptions of the projects offered for this summer internship I applied to as many of the projects as I could, because all of them intrigued me, hoping that I could possibly get the job.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? In the project that I am working on, we are assessing the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) requirements and design artifacts for coverage of fault management functions. We are using DOORS software requirements repository and design documents to identify fault scenarios and summarizing the system’s response capabilities. Our team is also researching legacy system failures and assessing the SGSS design for respective fault management capabilities.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The thing that I like most about working at NASA is the environment of people surrounding you. Although people are constantly working on projects and don’t have much time to communicate with each other, it seems that everyone working at the internship loves what they do. Also, the full time employees are very nice and courteous to the interns, which make us feel a lot more comfortable coming to work every day.

IMG_1793 Name: Laura Ullom
Hometown: Jane Lew, W.Va.
High School or College: Lewis County High School graduate who plans to study journalism at Cedarville University in the fall of 2014
Why did you apply for a NASA internship? I applied for an internship with NASA for mainly two reasons. (1) My first experience with NASA was good. (I went to one of those “Bring Your Kid to Work” days with my dad, had a blast, and to this day have a poster hanging in my bedroom of Expedition 8! (2) I became interested in technical writing (that’s pretty much taking complicated information and making it easy to understand). I wanted to see what it was like working in a real-life technical writing situation.
What are you doing for NASA? I am currently working on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Tool Analysis team as a technical writer. Basically, that means I am learning about what the brilliant analysts are working on and writing about, so other people can know too.
What do you like most about working for NASA? I think of all the things I like about working for NASA, the thing I like the most is seeing how all the people here are so passionate about the work they do. Everyone I’ve talked to is driven and excited to make a difference. The atmosphere motivates me to work hard, too!

Welcome to IV&V, Interns!

Posted on by .

IMG_1776Summer at NASA’s IV&V Program is just another season for most employees, but for a few, it means working with a very promising group of college and high school interns. Some will be teaching their interns how to create applications in Java and some will be guiding them through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) presentation development.

The high school interns represent high schools located all over West Virginia, while the college interns represent colleges located throughout the entire United States. The ten college interns here this summer represent the program’s 5th class of the 10-week long Summer College Internship Program (SCIP), and the fourteen high school interns are the program’s 19th class of the 8-week long NASA IV&V Engineering Apprenticeship Program (NEAP). Both internship programs provide professional work experience, exposure to IV&V efforts, and an opportunity to experience real engineering careers. All of our interns will present their summer efforts at IV&V, Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA Headquarters.

College Interns

Nick Ohi – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Trey Duckworth – Mentor: Rick Hess
Derek Hanely – Mentor: Jeremy Yagle
Thomas Alappat – Mentor: Ashley LeMasters
Josh Hiett – Mentor: Steven Hard
Josh McPherson – Mentor: Bill Elson
Katherine Warner – Mentor: Rickey Beamer
Jared Leggett – Mentor: Greg Black
Ashton Armstrong – Mentor: Justin Smith
Georgette Ball – Mentor: Justin Smith

High School Interns

Matthew Gramlich, Cortney Mercer and Jonathan Lister – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Esha Halabe – Mentor: Ryan Starn
Laura Ullom – Mentor: Rick Hess
David Lituchy and Isaak Wolfe  – Mentor: Darilyn Dunkerley
Robert Hewitt and Vincent Spagnuolo – Mentor: Don Kranz
Katherine Reid and Wyatt Kitzmiller– Mentor: Ed Meek
Samuel Talkington – Mentor: Ross Blankley
John Forquer and Dalton Okel– Mentor: Joelle Spagnuolo-Loretta

Congratulations are due to these interns for being IV&V’s summer 2014 intern group. Also, thank you to the program for supporting these internship initiatives. Everyone at IV&V hopes you have a great experience.

IMG_1725

Jess White
STEM
 Initiatives Lead
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

Moving On: Intern Sarah Layman Heads to Charleston, W.Va.

Posted on by .

Former NEAP intern and year-round intern, Sarah Layman, recently graduated from West Virginia University, earning her Bachelor of Science in industrial and management systems engineering. Sarah started at IV&V in the summer of 2009 and has worked here every summer since. She will be leaving the program to go to work full-time for FedEx Express in Charleston, W.Va. as an associate engineer.

I can still remember the day that one of my friends told my mom about the NEAP (NASA IV&V Engineering Apprenticeship Program) opportunity. I was so mad at her, because I knew that there was no way I could get out of that one. I was on the swim team at the time, and the only thing that I wanted to do that summer was be a lifeguard and get a tan.

The next thing that I knew, I was filling out the application with my mom. I decided to play along because I remember thinking to myself, “There’s no way I’ll actually get this.” Well just my luck, a month or so later I received a letter in the mail from Jess White telling me that, guess what… you will be a NEAP intern for the summer of 2009!

Intern S. Layman (2)

I wouldn’t say that I started that summer with an open mind. I was so unbelievably nervous, because “This is NASA, I can’t mess up!” Jess will attest to the fact that I sat at my workstation and didn’t say a word to anyone for at least the first week. At some point I started talking to my partner on the project and people that sat around me more, and we even started to eat lunch together outside.

IMG_1229

When people used to ask me where I was working for the summer I’d say NASA IV&V, and their response was always “Wow.” I quickly realized that this was an awesome opportunity that not every 16-year-old got, and it was one that could really benefit my future. When I got into that mind-set, I was able to open up and really start learning. And after that, well the rest was history. I haven’t wanted to leave IV&V since. Although, I did have to do something difficult, I had to tell my mom that she was right and thank her. I’ve learned so much from this organization, and I hope that my working here has benefited the IV&V Program in some small way.

As I move forward with my career, there are a few key ideals that I will take with me from IV&V.

  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility; it must not be sacrificed in any way.
  • I must always do my work to the highest standard and continually look for improvement.
  • It is important to balance my work life with my home life.

IMG_0808

IV&V gives high school and college interns the chance to work as professionals. We are given a mentor, but we’re expected to act and work as any other employee. This independence allowed me to learn quickly how to communicate, manage my time, accomplish projects goals, and so much more. I can go forward knowing that I have not only developed important technical skills, but I have also learned how to work effectively in this environment. Thank you to all that have helped me along the way, as well as all of the interns that you have and will impact every year. Your time and effort is appreciated. Also, a special thanks to Jess White for all that he does with the internship program, and so much more.

Sarah Layman
NEAP Assistant
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

West Virginia State VEX Robotics Competition

Posted on by .

On January 17 and 18, 2014, NASA’s IV&V STEM Education Initiatives Office supported the West Virginia State VEX Robotics Competition. The winner selected has the opportunity to compete at the world competition in Anaheim, Calif. A total of 15 VEX teams competed through three grueling rounds of end effector-to-end effector combat…um, I mean competition. The VEX Robotics Competition encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among student groups which pumps pure STEM adrenalin into the hearts and minds of students. The event holds the promise of increasing the IV&V STEM Education Initiatives’ portfolio of robotics initiatives, as we have agreed to coordinate and judge the event January 2015.

 

The 2014 VEX State winner this year was Penta Package from the James Rumsey Technical Institute in the Eastern Panhandle of the state. Congratulations team and good luck in Anaheim!

Image Credits: NASA’s IV&V Educator Resource Center

If you are interested in supporting the 2015 VEX State competition or are interested in finding out more about IV&V robotics education initiatives, please contact Jess White at jess.e.white@nasa.gov or Todd Ensign at todd.i.ensign@nasa.gov.

For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Jess White
Education Specialist
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

2013 FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition

Posted on by .

Dean Kamen, entrepreneur and inventor, had a vision that one day scientists, engineers and mathematicians would be celebrated much like sports figures are in our pop culture. In 1989, he founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) with this idea in mind.  FIRST® is a robotics science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition sponsored by LEGO® that places students in a “real-world” situation solving a problem using innovation and teamwork. Teams gain hands-on experience programming and engineering a robot, as well as teamwork experience brainstorming ideas and learning to manage time. FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL), in particular, involves teams with ages ranging from 9 to 14 years old.

Each year, teams are giving a unique and different challenge. This year’s challenge was “Nature’s Fury.” Teams were faced with the task of identifying a specific natural disaster such as an avalanche or landslide, tornado or cyclone, earthquake, tsunami, flood, volcanic eruption, hurricane, wildfire, or storm and then from that point, designing an innovative solution for the community. Their innovation is then tested in several areas:  robotics challenge, robot design, project and core values. The robotics challenge includes programming a robot to maneuver a playing field with obstacles related to the theme using a LEGO® brick with sensors, motors, and gears. Robot design allows the teams to showcase their robot and answer engineering-related questions regarding their build. The project portion involves the research work needed to solve the presented problem and the innovative solution in which they arrived. Finally, core values encompasses how the team worked together to solve the problem.

This year 58 FLL teams from all over various counties of West Virginia including school groups, 4-H clubs and Boy & Girl Scout teams attended the State Tournament at Fairmont State University on December 7, 2013, making it the largest STEM competition to date in our beautiful mountain state. It didn’t take long for Dean Kamen’s vision to materialize as the gymnasium transformed into a room full of competitors, spectators, and excited energy. Teams could be found in the pit and judging areas perfecting their robot programs, rehearsing their presentations, chanting team cheers, wearing costumes (one of the biggest traditional in FLL history), meeting new teams and making new friends.   One of the team members of the Brix Mix from Putnam County, who competed for the first time, stated, “This is a lot bigger than we thought it would be. This has been a GREAT learning experience!”

Awards for the 2013 West Virginia State Tournament

Champions Award, 1st Place, Nerdbots (Fairmont)
Champions Award, 2nd Place, SCIENEERS (Fairmont)
Champions Award, 3rd Place, Technomancers (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 1st Place, Technomancers (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 2nd Place, Robocats (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 3rd Place, Nerdbots (Fairmont)
Project: Research, 1st Place, Silicon Stream (Mineral Wells)
Project: Innovative Solution, 1st Place, Infini-Miners (Morgantown)
Project: Presentation, 1st Place, Tech Nados (Arthurdale)
Robot Design: Mechanical Design, 1st Place, West Side CyberCubs (Fairmont)
Robot Design: Programming, 1st Place, Suncrest Stemtists (Morgantown)
Robot Design: Strategy and Innovation, 1st Place, Fairmont Blockheads (Fairmont)
Core Values: Gracious Professionalism, 1st Place, F.I.R.E. (Martinsburg)
Core Values: Teamwork, 1st Place, Warriors (Nitro)
Core Values: Inspiration, 1st Place, Fifth Element (Caldwell)
Judges Award: Against All Odds, Resolutions (Charleston)
Judges Award: Against All Odds, RebotiCX (Huntington)
Judges Award: Community Engagement, Coalbots (Pecksmill)
Outstanding Volunteer, Abraham Falsi, (Montgomery)
Adult Coach Award, Ann Burns, (Fairmont)
Youth Service Award, William (Morgantown)

The 2014 teaser “World Class” has already been released and can be viewed at the FIRST LEGO League website.  Since the WV State Tournament has become so large Todd Ensign, tournament director, made the announcement during the tournament that next year there will be five regional qualifying tournaments.  This step is a must as WV becomes a bigger and bigger player in STEM engagement initiatives and needs are met over all 55 counties.

To help make the State Tournament a success we enlisted 100 volunteers to assist in judging, registration, tour guides, social media gurus, as well as audio visual and sound technicians.   The MARS (Morgantown Area RoboticS) FRC high school robotics team volunteered to referee the robotics tables and challenges.

Sponsorship for the tournament included a $2,250.00 total donation from Thrasher Engineering, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in Science & Research, and Par Mar Stores.  These funds allow the winning Championship team additional monies to attend another FLL event such as the national tournament.  Additional sponsorship to help run the state tournament came from NASA’s Independent Verification &Validation Program, WV Space Grant Consortium, and Fairmont State University.

For more information visit the FIRST® LEGO® League homepage.

Jaime Ford
NASA’s IV&V Program ERC’s Graduate Assistant for Student Programs

Page 1 of 3123