NASA Research Experience Project Descriptions

2021 Research Opportunities – NASA Research Directorate

Opportunity RD1: Support for Microphone Phased Array Testing in LaRC Ground Test Facilities

Description: This project is related to aeroacoustic noise measurements in Langley ground test facilities.  The student will be assisting with hardware testing, software usage (and development if appropriate), and analysis of data obtained from recent microphone phased array measurements conducted in one or more Langley facilities (e.g., the 14- by 22-foot Subsonic Tunnel).  Experience with Matlab would be beneficial for this project.

Preferred Majors: Associate Degree in Engineering or Electronics

Skills: Matlab

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Both but more research

POC: William Humphreys – william.humphreys@nasa.gov 757-864-4601

Opportunity RD2: High-Order Discontinuous Galerkin Method for Energetic Compressible Flows

Description: A critical aspect for determining the environment of high-speed vehicles with complex configurations is an accurate prediction of solution gradients, such as shear stresses, heat fluxes, pressure gradients, and density gradients. These quantities are required in reducing uncertainties in predicting turbulent flows, separation and reattachment points, and surface heat fluxes of spacecraft and hypersonic vehicles, to name a few. Furthermore, analysis of boundary layer instabilities also requires a nearly pristine set of solution gradients. The vehicles’ geometrical complexities such as wings, protuberances, cavities, thermal protection systems, compression pads, reaction control surfaces, as well as complexities in the flowfield such as shocks, shock-boundary layer interactions, shock-shock interactions, separations, and vortices are the main reasons for using purely simplex (triangle and tetrahedral) elements. The high-order Discontinuous Galerkin method is one of the attractive high-order schemes that is mathematically sound, and combines the benefits of both finite-volume and finite-elements schemes. In addition, DG schemes are suitable for h/p adaption, and can be numerically very efficient and scalable due to its compact stencil. The research opportunity seeks a self-motivating individual to help in the development of the high-order unstructured discontinuous Galerkin PDE solver, DNA. DNA is a fully modular, and flexible high-order unstructured discontinuous Galerkin (DG) code/library for general research purpose, written in C++. The objective is to develop a parallel, fully tested, dimension independent (i.e., 1D, 2D, 3D) high-order DG code that may be used for studying a wide range of partial differential equations, with emphasis on compressible flows, using linear/nonlinear (curved) elements, including linear/nonlinear simplex (triangle and tetrahedral) elements. The DNA development started in July 2019, and thus many tasks are available for improvement and/or implementation within DNA. The specific tasks may include but are not limited to development/implementation/improvement of: 1) a robust, high-order discontinuity capturing, 2) viscous terms integrations via SIP, BR2, LDG, and/or CDG, 3) PETSc linkage, 4) h/p adaptation, 5) efficient mesh partitioning, 6) Euler, Navier-Stokes, and/or Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) PDE classes, 7) Boundary conditions class, 8) Preconditioning class, 9)Summation-by-parts (SBP) integrations, 10) Entropy stable, kinetic energy preserving numerical fluxes for thermochemical nonequilibrium (TCNEQ) flows. The incumbent will work, depending on his/her background/interest/expertise, on one of the above related tasks.

Preferred Majors: 

Skills: Required: C++ and programming skills  Preferred: CFD, discontinuous Galerkin, applied math

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both:Computer Based

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Alireza Mazaheri – ali.r.mazaheri@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD3: Enabling Laser Powder Bed Fusion Additive Parts for Aerospace

Description: The majority of this opportunity is developing software tools for hardware control (robotics experience a plus), and data analysis. The software being developed will be used to control and observe the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process. Signals and data that is gathered from the system will then be used to inform and develop tools to support the industry in making aerospace grade parts using the LPBF additive manufacturing process.

Preferred Majors: Technical research focus, computer science

Skills: Programming

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer Based

Individual or Team: Both

Technical/Research: Technical

POC: Samuel Hocker – samuel.hocker@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD4: Adhesive Free Bonding of Complex Composite Structures

Description: The intern will assist in composite structure fabrication including panel layup, bagging, curing (with in-situ inspection), and post-processing of data acquired.

Preferred Majors: Materials Science Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering

Skills: Composite Processing

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Primarily research, but will be working closely with technicians.

POC: Tyler Hudson – tyler.b.hudson@nasa.gov; Frank Palmieri – frank.l.palmieri@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD5: ESPUR (Enabling Sustained Presence Using Recyclables)

Description: If we want to stay for an extended period of time on the Moon or Mars, we better make sure we are smart about packing what we need.  That is already a huge task, but how do we pack for what we don’t know we will need?  One solution is to bring feedstock to make what we need when we get there.  In this project, we will continue developing a recyclable feedstock material consisting of epoxy microparticles coating with a reversible click-chemistry coating.  We make the microparticles, we make the coating, and we have designed the click-chemistry functionality integration.  This gives us the capability of tuning the properties of every component of this material to what we need.  We anticipate that in the Summer of 2021, we will be working on integrating these materials into novel 3D printer instruments to begin fabricating demonstration articles.  We will continue materials synthesis and characterization and will run the project using Agile project management.

Preferred Majors: chemistry, physics, and engineering

Skills: Microsoft Office, laboratory experience

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Christopher J. Wohl – c.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074, Bryce L. Horvath – bryce.l.horvath@nasa.gov; 757-864-5830

Opportunity RD6: Evaluating Ice Adhesion Strength of Static and Impact Ice

Description: Ice, as in solid water, is incredibly complex. Beyond being one of the rare materials to change from solid to liquid when pressure increases, the way that ice is formed plays a huge role in how strong it is, and how strongly it sticks to surfaces. The ice we are familiar with in everyday life can be considered to form statically; that is, slowly as a result of the temperature dropping below freezing. An airplane though, can experience ice formation as a result of flying through clouds with super-cooled water droplets. These water droplets are liquid, but don’t want to be. They can’t turn into a solid because they are suspended in air. The leading edge of an aircraft wing though, makes a great home for this super-cooled water droplet to freeze to, instantly. This is impact ice. An everyday example is a bottle of very cold water that when shaken will freeze instantly.

This project will focus on generating ice samples on metal surfaces that were grown either statically or as a result of impact with super-cooled water droplets. Then, using a custom built ice adhesion instrument, the adhesion strength of each type of ice to the surface will be determined. Differences in adhesion strength will be connected to differences in ice properties due to how the ice was formed.

Preferred Majors: chemistry, physics, and engineering

Skills: Microsoft Office, laboratory experience

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Joseph Smith – joseph.g.smith@nasa.gov; Chris Wohl – c.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074

Opportunity RD7: Enabled Composite Manufacturing through Prepreg Tack Characterization

Description:To make an airplane you need to not only have the myriad of different components necessary to put the plane together, you also need to know the fundamental properties of the materials that each of those components are made from.  For components made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (composites), tack is one of the most critical properties.  Tack measures how sticky a material is, think about how strong a sticky-note clings to the wall.  Tack is a critical element regarding defect detection and prevention for automated fiber placement.  The work will involve initial determination of reliability and repeatability, determination of influence of fiber orientation, as well as characterization of the change in tack due to a cadre of experimental conditions.

Preferred Majors: engineering, statistics, chemistry and physics

Skills: Microsoft Office, laboratory experience

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Research

POC: Chris Wohlc.j.wohl@nasa.gov; 757-864-8074; Frank Palmieri frank.l.palmieri@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD8: Hardware and software development for motor control system

Description:Project has the intern modify the design of a printed circuit board to include additional analog channels for the sampling of voltage and current measurements on board an unmanned aerial vehicle. Skills to be developed include PC board and electronic design, C++ programming of a teensy microprocessor for real time signal acquisition, and implementation of designed PC board for flight demonstration. Prefer to have a student who has some experience in electronics, C++ programming, and embedded processor applications. Intern will work with a team of engineers in System Wide Safety (SWS) on a project that is a combination of technician and research focused. Most of the work is laboratory based and requires the student be onsite for hands-on work in electronic design and implementation.

Preferred Majors: Engineering, Computer Science, Electronics

Skills: C++

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Ken Eure – Kenneth.W.Eure@nasa.gov; Ed Hogge – edward.f.hogge@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD9: Software development for flight safety metrics monitoring

Description: Interns will work in a diverse engineering team to help build a Smart City environment for monitoring drone operations at Langley Research Center.  Interns employ Internet-of-things (IoT) concepts and tools to build network centric applications for sensor feed, data flow automation, monitor/alerting logic, and displays for drone operators.  Interns will be given high level objectives and expected to research steps and tools, then execute their plan and report progress.  Networked applications areas include Battery management and monitoring, Flight management, automated data archiving, safety metrics monitoring, some data mining for model development.

Preferred Majors: engineering, computer science, and IT focus

Skills: Software Development Skills: Python, Java, C, C++ OS and development environment familiarity:  Linux, Win, Node-RED, Eclipse, VSCode, Flask, SQL

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Both

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Cuong Quach (Patrick) – Cuong.C.Quach@nasa.gov; Sixto Vazquez – sixto.l.vazquez@nasa.gov; Kaveh Darafsheh – kaveh.darafsheh@nasa.gov

Opportunity RD10: Data capture for flight operations

Description:Develop C, Java and/or Python applications for drone pilot to opening and close a flight operation.  Involves network programming, secured file transfer, testing on the flight line.  Software links to vehicle configuration system and interacts with other systems to verify that vehicle pre-flight configuration conforms to what is approved by safety review board.  May include development work from these other systems.

Preferred Majors:Computer Science or any engineering

Skills: Ideal candidate has some network security course work and beginner concept of programming.  Familiarity with windows 10, some knowledge of computer security and network programming a plus.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer Based

Individual or Team: Both

Technical/Research: Both

POC: Cuong Quach (Patrick) – Cuong.C.Quach@nasa.gov

2021 Research Opportunities – NASA Engineering Directorate

Opportunity ED1: Design and Prototype of 3D Printed Wind Tunnel Model

Description: Design and prototype of a 3D printed wind tunnel model with integrated force measurement and cooling systems for hypersonic wind tunnel testing.

Preferred Majors:Mechanical Engineering; Material Science and Engineering; Aerospace Engineering

Skills: Experience with CAD required; experience with thermodynamics and heat transfer desired, but not required.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer

Individual or Team: Team

Technical/Research: Research/Engineering

POC:Miranda Snyder – miranda.l.snyder@nasa.gov; 757-864-7984; Devin Burns – devin.e.burns@nasa.gov; 757-864-2782

Opportunity ED2: Statistical Analysis of Pressure Data for Flight Sensors

Description: Perform statistical analysis of pressure data that would be used as selection criteria for flight sensors.

Preferred Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering.

Skills: Computer skills, statistical analysis, familiarity with Microsoft Excel

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer Based

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Engineering/Research

POC: William Chambers – william.p.chambers@nasa.gov; 757-864-4603; David Hare – david.a.hare@nasa.gov; 757-864-4707

Opportunity ED3: Development of Powered Descent Guidance Algorithm for High Performance Computing

Description: Contribute to the development of a powered descent guidance algorithm that leverages high performance computing to internally model thousands of trajectories onboard and in real-time.

Preferred Majors:Computer Science, Math/Applied Math, Aerospace Engineering

Skills: Required: C Programming, Matlab, and completed coursework in calculus; Desired: CUDA and Python

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer Based

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Engineering/Research

POC: Justin S. Green – justin.green@nasa.gov; 757-864-4019; R. Anthony Williams – robert.a.williams@nasa.gov; 757-864-7818

Opportunity ED4: Research and Development of Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Solutions for Engineering System Designs and Related Analysis Data

Description: Internship opportunity researching and developing virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) solutions for visualizing developing engineering system designs and related analysis data. This will nominally include solutions for rapid virtual and augmented reality display of 3D computer aided design (CAD) drawings and related engineering data. Engineering data will nominally include cost and engineering analysis results characterizing alternative system designs. The solutions will support rapid system design development and rapid prototyping. System designs will nominally include proposed space based earth science instruments. Results will be used for proposals and project advancement. The intern will work directly with the EDS system engineers to research and utilize EDS VR/AR equipment including Oculus Rift and MS Hololens as well as EDS VR/AR software such as Unity and SketchUp Pro on EDS VR/AR workstations. Interested interns should have knowledge or experience with some combination of two or more of the following: virtual or augmented reality game engines (example: Unity Game Engine), visualization techniques, computer science, and data analysis. Applicants must be US citizens, submit to NASA identify verification processes and comply with NASA security procedures.

Preferred Majors: Computer Science, Computer Programming, Computer Engineering, Data Science

Skills: Virtual or augmented reality game engines (example: Unity Game Engine), visualization techniques, computer science, and data analysis.

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Hands-on

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Engineering/Research

POC:David G. Goggin – david.g.goggin@nasa.gov; 757-864-5705; Tony Arviola – tony.arviola@nasa.gov; 757-864-8480

Opportunity ED5: Review of Processes for Reducing the Risk of Contamination on Hardware

Description: The contamination control engineering team is looking for 1-2 student(s) to work on reviewing the processes for reducing the risk of contamination on hardware. Specifically, the student researchers will analyze current methods for bakeout and provide a branch guideline for processing outgassing data and reviewing materials for bakeout testing in thermal vacuum chambers.

Preferred Majors: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Materials Engineering

Skills: Microsoft Office, Visual Basic, MATLAB

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Computer based

Individual or Team: Both

Technical/Research: Engineering/Research

POC: Gugu Rutherford; gugu.n.rutherford@nasa.gov ; 757-864-2153, Rodolfo I. Ledesma – rodolfo.i.ledesma@nasa.gov; 757-864-2727

Opportunity ED6: Design, Implementation, and Testing of Wind Lidar Instruments

Description:Design, implementation, and testing of telemetry, server-side data processing, data displays, and graphical user interfaces for Wind lidar instruments.

Preferred Majors: Computer Science

Skills: Python and Java knowledge required Linux preferred Matlab desired

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technical/Research: Engineering/Research

POC: John Marketon – john.e.marketon@nasa.gov; 757.864.7575; Seth Begay – seth.j.begay@nasa.gov; 757.864.2018

2021 Research Opportunities – Wallops Flight Facility

Opportunity WFF1: Balloon Research Development Lab (BDRL)

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

1. Update the balloon database and present statistical data on technical aspects of balloon construction and launches.

2. Improve the Balloon Program Website and promotional materials with updated graphics and information. This may stretch into improvements on the office presentations as well.

3. Quality assurance testing. Comparing results of current and past data. Student must have dexterity and be very detail oriented in order to successfully prepare samples for testing.

Preferred Majors: Engineering, Physics, Math

Skills: Basic laboratory skills, Basic computer skills such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Both

Technician/Research: Both

POC: Sarah Roth – sarah.roth@nasa.gov – 757-824-1324

Opportunity WWF2: 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 WFF3: Environmental Engineer Technician

Description: Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is looking for a student to perform a variety of tasks as an Environmental Engineer Technician, including research of environmental topics, presenting research results, conducting lab testing and sampling and field work on and around the Wallops main base. Selected candidate will participate in numerous environmental programs, including Air, Environmental Planning, Natural Resources, Regulated Waste, Restoration and Water Programs. The field work will expose the student to summer conditions common to the Delmarva Peninsula; i.e. hazy, hot and humid. A specific project will be developed in an area that matches the candidate’s interests and educational background.

Preferred Majors: Science, physics, civil or environmental engineering, chemistry

Skills: Basic computer skills such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technician/Research: Both

POC: Theodore J. Meyer – theodore.j.meyer@nasa.gov – 757-824-1987

Opportunity WFF4: Air Quality Program Technical Support

Description: Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) is seeking a student to support the Air Quality Program as an Environmental Engineer Technician. Tasks may include field verification and mapping of equipment and processes, performing emissions calculations for current and projected activities, researching regulatory requirements and alternative equipment or process configurations, development of air quality database input criteria and factors, and writing white papers or technical briefs.

Preferred Majors: Science, physics, civil or environmental engineering, chemistry

Skills: Basic computer skills (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint); technical writing skills preferred

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technician/Research: Both

POC: Theodore J. Meyer – theodore.j.meyer@nasa.gov – 757-824-1987

Opportunity WFF5: Range Orbital and Sub-Orbital Program and Engineering Support

Description: Educational Hands-on support of the Experimental Facilities Civil Engineering Branch (Code 228) and Range (Code 840) through research and operational mission support. Will work with NASA career Professional Engineers and Engineering Technicians both in the office and in the field through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) support, field inspection, construction monitoring, research and design working with mentor-directed, degree-related, real-time task completion of active projects. Specific disciplines to be covered will include Civil Engineering, Pavement Design, Utility Infrastructure Analysis, Construction Monitoring and Inspection, Structural Engineering Analysis, Airfield and Launch Facility analysis, Vehicle Launcher Design and analysis, ELV Rocket Launch Pad and Supporting Facilities design and analysis, and CAD drafting and design support along with Launch Support Services for various Class Missions. Should have experience working on active airfields and/or active launch ranges.

Preferred Majors: Science, physics, civil or environmental engineering, chemistry

Skills: Computer Skills: CAD – drafting experience for civil engineering, structural, electrical engineering with AutoCAD. Prefer possession of AutoCAD certification. Excel – Basic knowledge or creating and editing spreadsheets GIS – Basic working knowledge of GIS software PowerPoint – Possess good working knowledge of preparing and editing Presentations

Hands-on/Computer Based/Both: Both

Individual or Team: Individual

Technician/Research: Both

POC: Michael Morgan (Michael.d.morgan@nasa.gov; 757-824-2764)