2013 FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition

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

OC-Flight-1’s First Flight

Just after 6 a.m. on Aug 13, 2013, the OC-Flight-1 picosatellite payload was flown on a sub-orbital testing experiment as part of the “RockSat-X 2013” competition at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The payload was launched from a Terrier-Malemute sounding rocket to an altitude of ~170km, roughly half the altitude at which the picosatellite will orbit the earth and 70km above the Karman line (conventionally used as the start of outer space).  At this altitude, the shell of the RockSat-X payload canister was ejected and the experiments were exposed to elements of the ionosphere.

The intent of testing this science payload in the upper atmosphere was to increase the level of confidence that each subsystem component will behave as intended during on-orbit operation. Since the team is planning on using low cost components-off-the-shelf (which haven’t been manufactured specifically for space applications), there will be a slight risk of adverse performance. By testing normal operation in space conditions, weak points in the design can be identified and adjustments can be made before a large amount of money is spent launching the satellite into low-Earth orbit.

OC-Flight-1 Picosat
OC-Flight-1’s picosat after suborbital flight.

Although the communication systems test was unsuccessful due to a failure in antenna deployment, the payload data was stored on-board and recovered after the RockSat-X payload canister re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and was retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean 90 miles off shore. Using this data, it was determined that the payload subsystems were functioning properly during upper atmosphere operation and the main testing objective was achieved. Additional testing is in the works to prove the long range capability and reliability of the communications system.

NASA’s IV&V Program partnered with students from West Virginia University to integrate the OC-Flight-1 subsystems with other scientific experiments intended to be performed in the upper atmosphere as part of the overall competition. Other participating universities included University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Puerto Rico at San Juan, University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, West Virginia University, University of Minnesota, and Northwest Nazarene University. Even though the team was not alone in encountering mishaps during the integration and operations phase, every team involved with the competition came out a winner. The hand-on practical knowledge gained from participating in RockSat is highly valuable and will be an experience that’s never forgotten.

To see the re-entry of OC-Flight-1’s picosat, watch the video below.

Steven Hard
Project Manager
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

Summer Interns Return to IV&V

Year round intern and NEAP assistant Sarah Layman has been with the program since 2011. She works with the STEM Initiatives Lead to help with the summer college and high school interns.

It’s summer intern season here at NASA’s IV&V Program and for 22 college and high school interns, this means an experience they won’t forget.

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 six college interns here this summer represent the program’s 4th class of the 10-week long Summer College Internship Program (SCIP), and the 16 high school interns are the program’s 18th class of the 8-week longNASA 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 and financial management careers. For one project mentor, the work with his two high school interns has already proven to be a positive experience.  

“They are absorbing all this technical information faster than I could have ever imagined and are already blowing away my expectations for what we will have achieved toward the end of this summer,” Space Flight Design Challenge OC-Flight-1 project mentor Steven Hard said.  

The intent of the NASA IV&V Space Flight Design Challenge is to provide a STEM opportunity for students to engage in the design and fabrication of a space-based system so these skills become more common for the next generation of engineers and scientists. The internship project was designed to given students the opportunity to join the OC-Flight-1 experienced engineering team and engage in designing system requirements and architectures as well as solving specific mission challenges. As part of this team, high school interns Tori Snyder and Eric Post have and will continue to access hands-on experience that includes subsystem component/payload integration, acceptance level testing, and amateur radio communications.  

summer interns

 

Summer interns

Pictured above, Snyder and Post test individual solar cells for continuity and the overall solar panel’s voltage output when placed perpendicular to a high intensity light source. Pictured below this, mentor Hard and intern Post test transceiver communication with the project’s ground station handytalkies (HTs) that are connected to a SmartPad running an app to decode the packet.  

Another ongoing summer internship project is the Energy Efficiency project mentored by David Sheldon and David Dial. This project gives college intern Jack Wilkins the opportunity to work with the program’s facility team to explore ways to increase energy efficiency here at the program. Wilkins will also be researching industry best practices for efficient lighting, ran water collection systems and will submit his findings in a report at the end of the summer. Pictured below, mentor Sheldon and intern Wilkins go over building plans and operations.

 

Summer interns

In addition to this professional experience, the NEAP interns will have the opportunity in August to present their projects to NASA Headquarters. The interns and mentors are listed below. 

College Interns

Nick Ohi – Mentor: Ricky Forquer 
Jaclyn Hobbs – Mentor: Ricky Forquer 
Logan Smithson – Mentor: Todd Gauer
Chris Gatto – Mentor: Scott Kinney
Jack Wilkins – Mentor: David Sheldon
Michael Solomon – Mentor: Jerry Sims
 
High School Interns 

Matthew Gramlich and Jonathan Lister – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Michael Fouts and Esha Halabe – Mentor: Ryan Starn
Tori Snyder and Eric Post – Mentor: Steven Hard
Rachel Tyras and Trey Duckworth – Mentor: Rick Hess
Robert Hewitt – Mentor: Don Kranz
Wyatt Kitzmiller and Evan Lynn – Mentor: Joelle Spagnuolo-Loretta
Cortney Mercer and Bertalan Czinege – Mentor: Jerry Sims
Eric Tennant and Ryder Huggins – Mentor: Scott Kinney
Cole Frasher – Mentor: Stephen Driskell

Congratulations are due to these interns and a special thanks to the program for supporting these internship initiatives. Here’s to a great summer!

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

IV&V ERC's Use of Ground-Penetrating Radar

Pam Casto is an education specialist in NASA IV&V’s Educator Resource Center. She is also a freelance archeology technician.

Many are surprised to learn that Googling the term “NASA Archaeology” will return 6,060 hits.

NASA, while developing remote sensing technology to examine far off places, has made life much easier for archaeologists on Earth. In the past searching for a lost tomb, lost city or even an entire lost civilization could take months or years. Now, it often only takes days.

With instruments on many different types of spacecraft, NASA examines the universe in many wavelengths of light: radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light waves, ultraviolet waves, x-rays and gamma rays. NASA also studies earth with some of these wavelengths and that has made archaeologists very happy.

For example, Dr. Compton Tucker, senior Earth scientist at NASA’s Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center, used cutting-edge NASA technology, including magnetometers and ground-penetrating radar (GPR), to assist the government of Turkey in the location and excavation of ancient tombs. Tucker and his teams were racing against tomb robbers to find undisturbed tombs filled with archaeological treasures.

Thanks to NASA IV&V, educators in W.Va. also had the opportunity to use GPR to try to locate missing graves. With contributions from IV&V, WV Space Grant Consortium, Fairmont State University, Ohio Valley Archaeology and the Morgantown History Museum, W.Va. educators at a week-long 2011 summer camp explored how NASA uses wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum to study features of outer space and features here on Earth. One day was spent in an attempt to verify and validate stories of missing graves by doing a GPR survey to look for features at Kern’s Fort, a pre-Revolutionary War fort in Morgantown. GPR uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band to detect the reflected signals from subsurface structures. Graves typically reflect the waves differently than the surrounding soil.

Kern’s Fort was built in 1772 as a fortified cabin. Around 1774, a stockade wall was added. According to early records, it was one of the largest private forts in the area. There are sources from the late 1700’s and early 1800’s that refer to eleven burials at or near the fort. These include two children and six slaves who died of smallpox, two men killed in a skirmish with Native Americans (who were siding with the British), and Michael Kern’s himself, believed to be buried within one hundred yards of the fort. After the Revolutionary War, the stockade and various outbuildings inside it were taken down. The city of Morgantown grew up around the remaining cabin which was covered over with wooden lapboards in the 1800’s and still remains standing today on a small corner lot.

Under the direction of Dr. Jarrod Burk, a leading eastern US geophysical archaeologist, and the staff of IV&V’s Educator Resource Center, a GPR survey was performed around the fort itself and in some of the neighboring yards. Various anomalies were located and recorded. Interestingly, these anomalies appeared to start at a depth consistent with 1700’s artifacts recovered in a single 50 cm diameter shovel test pit excavated a few feet from the back wall of the fort. Last summer educators dug more test pits in neighboring yards and uncovered handmade clay marbles, post-Civil War pharmaceutical glass and an interesting unidentified ceramic object.  To determine if any of the anomalies are indeed the missing graves, an excavation would need to be conducted with the approval of the State Historical and Preservation Office. But it is now known, thanks to IV&V’s ERC, places to begin the excavations!

Pictured below: Just a few of the more than 100 artifacts recovered from a small shovel test pit.

Bone, Ceramic Artifacts

Pam Casto
Education Specialist
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

2013 NASA IV&V Workshop Call for Papers

UPDATE: The deadline for abstract papers has been moved to June 30, 2013.

 

2013 NASA IV&V Workshop Call for Papers

The Fifth International Workshop on Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) of Software

West Virginia University’s Erickson Alumni Center

Morgantown, West Virginia, USA

September 10-12, 2013

The NASA IV&V Annual Workshop offers an in-depth understanding of the challenges that V&V organizations face in assuring that system software operates safely and reliably. The goal of the workshop is to generate solutions to these challenges. This year, we will be offering topics in three different tracks, as indicated in the tables below. To participate in this workshop, you must submit an abstract (maximum 4000 characters, including spaces) by April 15, 2013. Abstracts will be reviewed for relevancy to this workshop. A new feature of this year’s workshop will give authors the option of preparing a paper that will be presented in proceedings to be published at the completion of the workshop. If an abstract is deemed relevant, the author will be invited to prepare a draft of his or her final paper. All final paper drafts will be reviewed for acceptance as either a poster presentation or an oral presentation at this year’s workshop.

 

All abstracts are to be written in English. An electronic version (PDF or MS Word format) should be submitted via email to Lisa Downs at Sadie.E.Downs@nasa.gov.

 

Important Dates

April 15, 2013              Abstract submission Due

May 15, 2013              Notification of Acceptance

June 1, 2013               Attendee Registration Opens

August 31, 2013          Final Papers/Presentations Due

August 31, 2013          Attendee Registration Closes

 

Contact Information

Annual IV&V Workshop Chair: Lisa Downs, Sadie.E.Downs@nasa.gov

Registration and Social Media: Bailee Morris, Bailee.R.Morris@ivv.nasa.gov and Jennifer Neptune, Jennifer.D.Neptune@ivv.nasa.gov

Corporate Sponsorships: Phil Loftis, Philip.D.Loftis@ivv.nasa.gov

Technical Committee and Annual IV&V Workshop Co-Chair: Stephen Husty, Stephen.Husty@nasa.gov

 

 

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ivv/workshops/index.html

  

We are currently seeking technical paper, poster and demo submissions in the areas noted below.

 

MANAGEMENT TRACK

Optimizing IV&V Planning and Execution

Analysis Framework Reuse (i.e., developer-specific mission analysis frameworks)

Development and Application of Assurance Case Structures

Efficiency Measurement and Continuous Improvement

Unified IV&V Analysis Process

IV&V Analysis Work Optimization Tips and Techniques

Application of Common Office Tools in Reducing Burden of IV&V Analysis and Evidence Collection

Use of Shared Data Dictionary for Improving Commonality of Terms of Reference Between Projects

IV&V Infrastructure and Stakeholder Community Support

IV&V Education Challenges

IV&V Skills Development and Certification

Efficient Risk Management in IV&V

Computing the Value of IV&V

Integrating NASA Assured Systems with Commercial Assured Systems

Commercial Space Systems IV&V

IV&V Challenges and Opportunities of SDLC Choices and Applicable Lessons Learned

Extending NASA IV&V Methods and Tools Applicability to Other Domains

New York City 911

DOD

FAA

Law Enforcement

Automotive

 

TECHNICAL TRACK

IV&V Analysis Case Studies

Addressing Security Aspects of System Assurance via IV&V

Development and Application of IV&V Technical Reference Solutions

Assurance of Model-based Development

Automated Software Specification

Automated Software Design and Synthesis

IV&V of Autogenerated Code

Writing a “Good” Assurance Claim

Architecture Frameworks as Applied to NASA Systems

Software Assurance of Complex Algorithms

Criticality Analysis

Data Product IV&V

Data Integrity

Data Visualization

Patterns and Frameworks Applied to IV&V Analysis

Off-nominal Operations

Software-based Hazard Causes, Contributors and Controls

 

 

R&D TRACK

Special-Case IV&V Challenges

Challenges of IV&V of Projects Using Other Than Waterfall SDLC

Performing IV&V on an En Route Project

IV&V of Auto-generated Code

Highly Parallel Development Projects

IV&V Test Verification Methodologies

Autonomous Systems IV&V

Robotic Systems IV&V

IV&V of Early Lifecycle Artifacts

Partitioned Systems

Swarm Intelligence

Adaptive Systems

Application of Assurance Case Methodology to Assuring Autonomous Systems

Initiating and Evolving IV&V Methods

Use of Simulations in Performing IV&V

IV&V of Critical Behavior

Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency of IV&V Methods

Evolving Technology Impacts on IV&V Analysis Methodologies

The Future of Software Development and Its Impact on IV&V

Innovative Uses of Non-traditional IV&V Tools to Improve IV&V Analyses

Crowd Sourcing as a Prototype for Code Validation

Towards Content/Context-based and Collaborative IV&V

Application of Data Mining Tools to Support IV&V

Applying Social Media to IV&V

Knowledge Engineering Tools and Techniques

Knowledge Representation and Retrieval

Knowledge Visualization

Integrity, Security and Fault Tolerance Assessments in IV&V

Fault Management Architecture and Implementation IV&V

Team-based Approach to Performing IV&V of Systems

Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Verifying Scripts

Providing Assurance of Enterprise Software, Middleware and Tools

Performance-based Design Assurance

Formal Methods: Current Tools and Practical Applications

 

 

Sun-Earth Day 2013

Pam Casto is an Education Specialist who works in IV&V’s Educator Resource Center (ERC). 

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) created Sun-Earth Day in 2000 to present to people around the world background knowledge about the Sun, latest happenings on the Sun itself, and how the Sun interacts with life here on Earth. This year’s Sun-Earth Day will be observed on Friday, March 23, 2013.

According to the Sun-Earth Day website, “Sun-Earth Day is comprised of a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year with a celebration on or near the Spring Equinox.” A different theme is chosen each year that highlights some aspect of what we are learning about Sun-Earth interactions. 

Latest SDO/AIA 193 A Image

This year’s theme is “Solar Max – Storm Warning.” Presentations throughout the year will explore the electromagnetic storms, flares, coronal mass ejections, and sunspot activities. Various NASA heliophysics missions such as the Solar Dynamic Observatory and the Van Allen Probes will share discoveries about our star and its influence on Earth.

Special events planned for Friday include a live webinar streamed from Wallops Flight Facility by NASA Edge.

Date: March 22, 2013
Time:1:00 – 2:30 PM EST
Location:Wallops Flight Facility
URL:
http://www.ustream.tv/nasaedge

NASA EDGE: Sun Earth Day 2013

01:00:00

NASA EDGE

Open

 

Live up date from the Moon

01:03:10

Alex Young, NASA GSFC

All things Sun: Solar Max and SDO footage

01:12:10

Dan Smith, JHU/APL

Auroras: Van Allen Probes (RBSP) mission update

01:20:40

Lou Mayo and Kelly Fast, NASA GSFC

Planetary effects from the Sun: MAVEN, Venus, Sounding Rockets Mission

01:32:40

Doug Rowland, NASA GSFC

VISIONS: sounding rocket/aurora

01:37:40

Dan Smith , JHU/APL and Joe Burt, NASA/GSFC

How do scientists and engineers work together to complete a mission?

01:50:10

Doug Voss, NASA Wallops

LADEE Mission and upcoming launch from Wallops

01:58:10

Sarah Daugherty, NASA Wallops

Flight Director at Wallops

02:04:40

Elaine Lewis and Troy Cline, NASA GSFC

Updates and announcements—MMS, Sun-Earth Day, Space Weather Action Center, Winner of Solar Max Anime Contest

02:17:10

Alex Young, Kelly Fast, Dan Smith and Doug Rowland

Q & A

 

 

 

 

Pam Casto
Education Specialist
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition

Josh Revels in an intern in the IV&V Program’s Educator Resource Center (ERC). He played an active role in the executing of the FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition. 

On December 8th, 2012, Fairmont State University echoed with the cheers of the 54 West Virginia FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams. I was fortunate enough, as an ERC intern, to experience the event from working volunteer aspect. It was easy to spot the teams because members either wore colorful shirts with team designs or had on a fun costume. In the pit area, teams operated on their robots so that they could perform various tasks during the table competition such as scoring a strike in a bowling challenge. One team even managed to program their robot to climb an incline then balance it on a tilt table! It was hard to hide from the excitement of the event. Located next to the pit area, I saw teams dancing and building LEGO communities. Although the event was entertaining, I can’t help but to remember how great it felt when I witnessed a team graciously sharing a lap top charger with another team.


In the end, it became clear that the best aspect of being a part of FLL is the difference it makes in our lives. Whether it is the advancement of technology for society or working as a member of a team to accomplish a difficult test, FLL is clearly all about collaborative innovation.

Josh Revels
ERC Intern
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

2012 Careers in the Corridor Event

Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead at NASA’s IV&V Program. He is the current coordinator for the Careers in the Corridor event. 

NASA’s IV&V Program STEM Initiatives Office held the fourth annual Careers in the Corridor (CIC) exhibition on Friday November 30, 2012. The event showcased the variety of high tech careers available in West Virginia and featured a presentation by a former space shuttle astronaut and West Virginia native, Capt. Jon McBride.

The objective of CIC is to help sophomores, juniors and seniors imagine the future they can realize by studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Astronaut McBride spoke about his journey to become what is now West Virginia’s only astronaut. Afterwards, he joined the students on a tour of job fair exhibits staffed by NASA and other corporate and academic recruiters. 

Among the exhibitors there were West Virginia University’s Dr. Powsiri Klinkhachorn and a few members of his WVU Robotics Team. Along with them they brought the WVU Mars Rover, which was built by the WVU Robotics Team and competed in the MARS RASC-AL RoboOps Challenge. Although the robotics held the students’ interest, many of the other vendors had the opportunity to interact with the students one-on-one, which was something they felt was very important. 

“Careers in the Corridor is one of the best communication platforms I have seem for the promotion of NASA’s STEM initiatives and inspiring the next generation of West Virginians,” vendor and TASC Office Manager Bree Layton said. 

The vendors certainly weren’t the only ones who saw the benefit of this annual event. Cynthia Howell of Heritage Christian School stated that this event was very good for her students and that she hoped that their school can participate in future IV&V educational outreach opportunities. 

A big thanks to all of those who helped make this event happen. It was a great success and one that we hope to continue for many years to come. If you are interested in becoming a vendor for next year’s event, please contact STEM Initiatives Lead Jess White at jesse.e.white@nasa.gov or Bailee Morris at bailee.r.morris@ivv.nasa.gov.

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

IV&V's Independent Test Capability Team Competes in 2012 NASA Software of the Year

The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team is chartered to acquire, develop and maintain simulation and test environments for NASA’s IV&V Program to enable dynamic analysis of NASA IV&V-supported projects. The team has worked with Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), International Space Station, Juno, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) and Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC). 

The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team had the opportunity to compete in the 2012 NASA Software of the Year competition. The competition is sponsored by the NASA Chief Engineer, the NASA Chief Information Officer and the NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The purpose of the competition is to allow the agency to recognize and appreciate NASA’s team members who set high standards for significant software that is creative, usable, transferable and possesses inherent quality.

The competition requires that teams prepare and submit a significantly large packet of information detailing the characteristics of the software including commercialization potential, uniqueness and creativity, to name a few. In addition to the packet submission, each team prepares and gives a 30 minute presentation on the software. Initial submissions are evaluated at each respective NASA center and final submissions are evaluated by a software advisory panel, with representatives from across the agency. 

It was an honor for the Independent Test Capability team to be involved in this competition and to represent the IV&V Program and Goddard Space Flight Center. The team received honorable mention recognition and was the first submission from the IV&V Program. Thank you to everyone that supported the submission and especially those who provided peer reviews and letters of support. The team looks forward to its next opportunity to compete!

Independent Test Capability Team
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

Day in the Park 2012

Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead at NASA’s IV&V Program. He is the current coordinator for the Day in the Park event. 

Thirteen years of Day in the Park events has impacted over 10,000 West Virginia citizens with high quality NASA Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational content. This year’s Day in the Park event was no different. On October 23-24, 2012, approximately 1,200 fifth and seventh-grade students had the unique opportunity to learn about STEM careers, NASA’s mission and what it takes to be an astronaut. With a goal of inspiring, educating and engaging learners about NASA and STEM careers, students experienced hands-on scientific and engineering presentations by former astronaut Ken Cameron, the Carnegie Science Center and the Seattle-based Museum of Flight. Also attending and serving as Master of Ceremonies was former West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan.


Day in the Park is provided to students each year to fight against the trend of students losing interest in science and math during pre-adolescent formative years of development. Day in the Park vendors strive to provide content that is jam packed full of the “WOW” factor in regards to science and math. While eating lunch, a student told me that they are now torn between working for NASA’s IV&V Program in Fairmont and becoming an astronaut after hearing about Mr. Cameron’s experience as a NASA astronaut. Teachers attending the event were equally impressed, stating they think these types of STEM awareness opportunities are exactly what their students need as motivation to take the steps necessary to become our nations next generation of STEM professionals. 

I could not have ‘daydreamed’ better responses from guests of our Day in the Park events! 

For more photos, visit NASA’s IV&V Program page on Facebook.

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