2013-2014

Students in Spacecraft and Mission Design class video chat with lead propulsion engineer for the Cassini mission to Saturn

Students in Spacecraft and Mission Design class video chat with lead propulsion engineer for the Cassini mission to Saturn

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, students in the senior level design course, AE4771 Spacecraft and Mission Design, had the opportunity to participate in a live video call with Todd Barber from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. Mr. Barber is a JPL senior propulsion engineer, now working as lead propulsion engineer on the Cassini mission to Saturn following part-time work on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, Deep Impact mission, and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, which landed the large rover Curiosity on the red planet on August 5th, 2012. Cassini was launched on October 15, 1997 on its two-billion-mile, seven-year journey to the ringed planet. The MER team launched twin rovers to the red planet in June and July of 2003, and Opportunity is still going strong nearly ten years after landing. Todd also worked as the lead impactor propulsion engineer on Deep Impact, which successfully crashed into Comet Tempel-1 on Independence Day, 2005, at twenty-three-thousand miles per hour. The video call provided students with a unique opportunity to ask questions, to learn about the day to day role of a spacecraft propulsion system engineer, and to learn about preparation for careers at NASA. The video chat was made possible by NASA JPL’s Digital Learning Network Office working in collaboration with WPI’s Academic Technology Center.

March 10, 2014

 
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