NASA Research Experience Project Descriptions

2019 Research Opportunities – NASA Research Directorate

Opportunity RD1:  Nuclear Thermionic Avalanche Cell (NTAC) Development

Description: NTAC is a high power density system using avalanche electrons liberated from the intra-band of atomic structure by high energy photons. The estimated power density of NTAC exceeds 10 kW/kg which is quite promising for future deep space missions. The laboratory test platform is already set up with a 320 keV gamma ray source. The tests required are the fabrication and test of a linear NTAC array.

Preferred Majors: Physics and Electrical Engineering

Skills: Matlab

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Both (2) positions available

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Sang Choi – sang.h.choi@nasa.gov; 757-864-1408

Adam Duzik – adam.j.duzik@nasa.gov; 757-864-6030

Opportunity RD2:  Microphone Phased Array Acoustic Testing on the Common Research Model (CRM)

Description: The project would be related to microphone phased array acoustic testing to be conducted on the Common Research Model (CRM) in the 14×22 Tunnel in January, 2020.  The student will be assisting with preparations for this tunnel entry during their tour of duty, including calibration of microphone sensors, checkout of hardware for the tunnel entry, and some mechanical assembly of equipment for the entry. 

Preferred Majors: Electronics

Skills: Matlab – some experience preferred

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Technician

POC: William “Tony” Humphreys – william.m.humphreys@nasa.gov;

757-864-4601

Tom Jones – thomas.w.jones@nasa.gov; 757-864-4903

Opportunity RD3:  NASA Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) NextSTEP – Optical Metrology Testing

Description: The NASA Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) NextSTEP Project has as one of its goals the development of a comprehensive optical window material database that can be used by designers of crewed vehicles and habitats.  Johnson Space Center has requested Langley’s help in supporting optical metrology testing of window specimens to measure and analyze various optical parameters to assess the quality of the materials for aerospace applications.  AMDSB is looking for a STF student with community college experience in science/engineering to work with the team to perform optical measurements of materials, e.g., fused quartz, optical polymers and ceramics.  The student will also perform processing and reporting of metrology data after it is acquired.

Preferred Majors: Electronics or Science

Skills: Matlab, Labview, and/or AutoCAD – some experience preferred; familiarity with some basic math, physics, and statistics as well as use of computer software like MS Office (e.g., Excel)

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Ken Tedjojuwono – ken.k.tedjojuwono@nasa.gov; 757-864-4595

Harriett Dismond – harriett.r.dismond@nasa.gov; 757-864-4625

Opportunity RD4:  Simulation-based Test, Evaluation and Analysis of On-Board Airplane Energy State and Automation Mode Prediction Function

Description: We are planning a simulation-based test and evaluation of an on-board airplane energy state and automation mode prediction function.  This will generate a large amount of data which needs to be analyzed to assess prediction performance.  This project is in support of the System-Wide Safety (SWS) project.

Preferred Majors: Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering (Control Systems), Mathematics (Data Analysis)

Skills: Matlab preferred; Other data analysis software tools

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer-based data analysis

Individual or Team: Both (2) positions available

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Wilfredo Torres-Pomales – w.torres-pomales@nasa.gov; 757-864-6164

Opportunity RD5:  Synthesis and Characterization of Durable Low Ice Adhesion Coatings

Description: This project will focus on the synthesis, application, and characterization of novel coating formulations toward generation of a durable, contaminant adhesion resistant surface.  Prepared coatings will be characterized using standard laboratory techniques including roughness, water contact angle, and infrared spectroscopy.  The coatings will also be characterized for impact ice adhesion strength in inset residue contamination using custom built instruments.  Durability will be assessed using a variety of techniques including scribe and solvent soak, Taber abrasion, flexibility, erosion resistance from sand blasting, among other techniques.

Preferred Majors: Engineering, Chemistry

Skills: Chemistry lab experience; Microsoft Office

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Joseph Smith – joseph.g.smith@nasa.gov; 757-864-4297

Chris Wohl – c.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074

Opportunity RD6:  Fabrication of Recyclable Feedstock for In-Space Manufacturing

Description: This project will focus on the generation and characterization of epoxy microparticles coating with reversibly reacting chemical functionalities.  It is anticipated that first generation materials will have been prepared and the efforts during the summer will be focused on characterization of interaction strength and generation of prototype coupons and articles.  The position will involve laboratory-based efforts, some level of computational effort, and some design and machining of molds for article fabrication.

Preferred Majors: Engineering, Chemistry

Skills: Matlab; Chemistry lab experience; Microsoft Office

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Chris Wohl – c.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074

Bryce Horvath – bryce.l.horvath@nasa.gov; 757-864-5830

Opportunity RD7:  Low Creep Low Relaxation Polymer Composites for Deployable Space Structures

Description: This is an FY19 CIF project. The work involves synthesizing polymer matrix resins, fabricating carbon fiber composites from them, and accelerated mechanical tests to predict long-term viscoelastic behavior.

Preferred Majors: Chemical or Materials Engineering; Mechanical, Aerospace or General Engineering could work. A student planning to pursue a BA after transfer is preferable.

Skills: CAD or Matlab; Chemistry lab experience; Not required but would be nice

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team with own responsibilities

Technical/Research: More Technician, but will strike a balance based on student’s background

POC: Jeffrey Hinkley – jeffrey.a.hinkley@nasa.gov; 757-864-4259

Keith Gordon – keith.l.gordon@nasa.gov; 757-864-2201

Jin Ho Kang – jin.h.kang@nasa.gov; 757-864-9219

Opportunity RD8:  Design and Implementation of an Automated Ultrasonic Scanning System

Description: Design and implementation of an automated ultrasonic scanning system for in-situ composite cure monitoring and defect detection in the extreme environment of an autoclave.

Preferred Majors: Electrical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Material Science and Engineering; Aerospace Engineering – Interested in a student who plans to pursue one of these degrees

Skills: Experience with motion control and CAD packages desired, but not required

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Tyler Hudson – tyler.b.hudson@nasa.gov; 757-864-3342

2019 Research Opportunities – NASA Engineering Directorate

Opportunity ED1:  Study of Modern Line Surge Protection Devices

Description: The task will be to investigate the performance and limitations of existing surge protection devices (SPDs) against various types of conducted pulses. In addition, students will design an improved surge protection device and learn the process of getting it approved through Underwriter’s Laboratory.

Preferred Majors: Electrical Engineering

Skills: None required

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team working with NIFS interns

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Arthur Bradley, Arthur.t.bradley@nasa.gov; 757-864-7343

Opportunity ED2:  Reality Solutions for LaRC Engineering Design Studio (EDS)

Description: Developing virtual and augmented reality solutions for the LaRC Engineering Design Studio (EDS). 

Preferred Majors: Computer Science or related field

Skills: Matlab – some experience preferred

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer Based + hands on with Virtual/Augmented reality headsets & related hardware

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: David Goggin; david.g.goggin@nasa.gov; 757-864-5705

Opportunity ED3:  Model Based Engineering (MBE)

Description: This is a computer-based opportunity for research and development in MBSE for NASA Langley Research Center. Examples of research and development tasks include, but not limited to, developing an open API application to extract Systems Modeling Language (SysML) data and exchange with other analysis tools; developing web apps to display or charting extracted SysML data on the browser; generating automated documentation directly from the SysML model; and translating document-centric engineering design into the SysML model.

Preferred Majors: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Technology

Skills: Java, Javascript, HTML, CSS

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer based

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Nipa Phojanamongkolkij; nipa.phojanamongkolkij@nasa.gov; 757-864-6396

Opportunity ED4:  Research Experience in Electromagnetic Compatibility Test Facility

Description: Perform conducted susceptibility calibration runs with various test equipment configurations and determine the optimum configuration based on given parameters.

Preferred Majors: Electrical Engineering, Computer Science

Skills: Knowledge/experience with LabView would be advantageous but not required.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Courtney Rollins; Courtney.h.rollins@nasa.gov; 757-864-7814

Opportunity ED5:  Analysis of Raman Spectra and Spectroscopy Data of Spacecraft Contaminants

Description: The Contamination Control & Planetary Protection team at NASA Langley has pioneered the use of portable Raman spectroscopy for detecting and analyzing contaminants found during spacecraft assembly, integration and test. This research project will support this continued technology implementation and focus on evaluation of a software tool for processing and analyzing Raman spectra and spectroscopy data obtained from numerous types of contaminants. This project will involve experimentally sampling contaminants, scanning and taking data with a portable Raman spectrometer, and evaluating a data analysis software package to: scale, offset, average, smooth, normalize, and map spectra; perform background and polynomial subtraction; and perform Principal Component Analysis (PCA), clustering analysis, and Extended Multiplicative Signal Correction (EMSC) analysis. This project will involve working in a cleanroom environment with portable Raman spectrometers, and working with NASA mentors and industry partners. Additionally, the student researcher supporting this project will have the opportunity to support the education and public outreach efforts of the Contamination Control & Planetary Protection team by speaking to student groups, leading laboratory tours, mentoring at student events, and presenting at seminars.

Preferred Majors: Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Math

Skills: Entry level programming, Excel, MATLAB. LabView experience a plus.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Elaine Seasly; Elaine.e.seasly@nasa.gov; 757-864-2173

Chris Wohl – c.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074

Opportunity ED6:  Lidar Canopy and CAS Incubator Projects

Description: The students will assist in setting up the wind lidar, mobile met tower and other associated sensors, collecting and processing of wind and weather data, and subsequent data analysis for applications in atmospheric characterization and UAV navigation at the CERTAIN range.

Preferred Majors: Electrical Engineering, Physics or Optics

Skills: Matlab or Labview

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team (2)

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Narasimha Prasad; narasimha.prasad@nasa.gov; 757-864-9403

Opportunity ED7:  Fabrication Technology Development Branch Support

Description: Making videos of specialized advanced manufacturing fabrication equipment. Unique opportunity to learn about state of the art manufacturing equipment. General fabrication support in the Branch –tools, safety, composites, additive manufacturing, etc.

Preferred Majors: Mechanical Engineering Technology

Skills: CREO and use of video camera equipment. Office Suite – Word, spreadsheets useful.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Primarily hands-on with some computer work

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Technician

POC: Frank Mayhew; franklin.o.mayhew@nasa.gov; 757-864-4527

Opportunity ED8:  CNC Machinist

Description: Mechanical trades focusing on metal machining processes and procedures. Work is primarily in the advanced machining development lab.  Metal Machining utilizing multi axis milling machines, drill presses, Water-Jet machining, introduction to NC programming/operation, Electronic Discharge machining, and 3D printing.

Preferred Majors: Manufacturing; Engineering – Mechanical; Engineering Technology/Technicians; – Industrial Production Technologies/Technicians

Skills: Mechanical aptitude – Metal Machining skills; milling & drilling – Understanding of Computer Aided Design – CNC Programming – Rapid prototyping – Computer Aided Manufacturing CAM.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Technician

POC: Thomas Burns; thomas.j.burns@nasa.gov; 757-864-4543

2019 Research Opportunities – Wallops Flight Facility

Opportunity WFF1: Precipitation Instrumentation Project

Description: Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is looking for a student to perform field work supporting surface precipitation instruments located on and around the Wallops main base. Duties will include data download and instrument maintenance of several sites that contain a combination of tipping bucket rain gauges (for measuring rain rates and accumulations) and disdrometers (for measuring the size, shape and number of rain drops). Once the data is collected, the student will work with other technicians and civil servants to perform data quality control and some analyses. These data provide crucial surface-based precipitation observations that are used to validate local NASA radar rainfall estimates and Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite retrievals. The field work will expose the student to summer conditions common to the Delmarva Peninsula; i.e. hazy, hot and humid.
Preferred Majors: Science, math, physics, meteorology, computer science
Skills: Programming (not required but a plus): Languages include Python, IDL, FORTRAN, C, Basic computer skills such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint
Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both
Individual or Team: Individual
Technician/Research: Both
POC: David Wolff – david.b.wolff@nasa.gov  – 757-824-1515

Opportunity WFF2: Near Earth Network (NEN) Evolution Engineer

Description: Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is looking for a student to work on one or more of the following projects:

1) Operator Logging – Work with others to develop a logging system for operators to log their actions as they monitor the automation system control dish movement and equipment configuration for satellite passes. Currently, operators record their actions manually.

2) Mission by Mission Tracking Analysis – Work with a tracking improvement team. For each of the five NEN tracking methods, document the status of improvement efforts, document concept of using the highly accurate Global Positioning System (GPS) solutions of the GOES-R series spacecraft to improve calibration of NEN S-band antenna range, range-rate, and angles, determine the relationship and sensitivity between the number of data points or tracking time, accuracy of data, and accuracy of orbit determination.

3) Wallops Test Bed – Work with others to document how to use the Wallops Test Bed for spacecraft compatibility testing. Modify existing Test Plans. Plan streamlining for reduced planning time, reduced reporting time, and automated testing.

4) McMurdo – Assist others in documenting the current status of McMurdo Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) Relay System (MTRS) and planning for potential upgrades including modifications to the existing system.

5) Add X-band, Ka-band – Assist others in adding X-band and Ka-band uplink to NEN-owned and commercial stations for lunar communication.

6) Automation enhancements – Assist others in improving automation to increase the number of ground stations monitored and controlled by each 24 x 7 operator/maintainer.

7) Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) – Assist others in adding DTN to NEN-owned stations.  This is in PPBE.

Preferred Majors: Electrical Engineering, Software Engineering, Physics, Math
Skills: Excel, PowerPoint, will teach other skillsets that student needs
Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both
Individual or Team: Both
Technician/Research: Research
POC: Scott Schaire – scott.h.schaire@Nasa.gov – 757-824-1120

Opportunity WFF3: Balloon Research Development Lab (BDRL) Technician

Description: Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is looking for a student with basic knowledge of laboratory procedures and an understanding of how to acquire statistically meaningful results. Student must have attended at least one science class with a laboratory component (chemistry or physics is preferred) and have a minimum of pre-calculus. Student will participate in several ongoing projects involving balloon material behavior and lifetime analysis in different operating environments.  The BDRL is also exploring non-contact strain measurement techniques and working to build new testing equipment for the lab and for flight opportunities. Additional experience in coding with python or Labview is beneficial. 

 

Preferred Majors: Engineering, Physics, Math
Skills: Basic laboratory skills, Basic computer skills such as Word, Excel
Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both
Individual or Team: Both
Technician/Research: Both
POC: Sarah Roth Fischer – sarah.r.fischer@nasa.gov – 757-824-1324