The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 11, NO. 3     FEBRUARY 1998

NASA project

wo WPI students, one a recent graduate, the other a senior, served internships during the summer at the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility Operations Control Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory in Cambridge, MAss., where they worked on the next generation of NASA's most powerful X-ray telescope...

May with a mechanical engineering (aerospace interest) degree with high distinction, and Aaron Shumate, an electrical and computer engineering major, were two of three college interns working at the NASA facility. Walton is now a graduate student at MIT and continues working at the NASA facility.

In early September both took part in the opening ceremony at the Cambridge facility, which will manage the mission of NASA's most powerful orbiting X-ray telescope and provide science data to the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility Science Center.

NASA administrator Daniel Goldin and astronaut Charles Precourt were present to mark the opening and transfer of mission management from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to the Cambridge facility.

The Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facilit, is scheduled for launch aboard the space shuttle Columbia in August 1998. It will take its place with the Hubble Space Telescope and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory as part of NASA's fleet of Great Observatories, giving astronomers a powerful new tool to investigate black holes, exploding stars and colliding galaxies, and will obtain never-before-seen images of highly energized X-ray sources.

During the summer, the three interns flew to California to look at the satellite and the facility where it is being built. "It's been exciting," says Walton. "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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Last modified: Mon Jun 22 15:51:42 EDT 1998