Sunday, June 27, 2010

Three Weeks

It's been three weeks here at Langley and I've been having a great time! I am the only student working on my project, which is kind of sad considering everyone else I've been talking to get to work more in groups and get to meet other interns. On the other hand, I am getting a lot of hands on experience and feel extremely fortunate to be working with the engineers in the Carbon-Carbon lab.

So far, we haven't gotten terribly much done on my project due to materials arriving late, etc., but in the meantime I've been learning different mechanical testing for materials: tensile, compression, etc. I feel like I'm shadowing rather than getting much done yet, but when we have some panels made I'll be trained to be able to get some interesting information about a material that I created. It doesn't really sound exciting, but then again, I get to break stuff. Who else gets to do that purposefully?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Welcome to the NASA Langley Research Center! Two and a half weeks into the hot and humid summer in Hampton, Virginia. I've spent my time familiarizing myself with the area (limited by transportation, but taking every opportunity for exploration) and my work in Garry Quall's Automation Lab in building 1220. I'm working on a team of about nine students (grad and undergrad) from Western Kentucky, MIT, Minnesota, Virgina, and Virgina Tech. The goal for the summer: Set-up and demonstration of an indoor and outdoor automated multi-vehicle UAV environment...details and progress updates in future posts!

I will make note in this first post about the attitude of people who work at Langley. Everyone, from researchers and scientists to the cashier in the cafeteria, is friendly and approachable. I've been very pleased to be among great scientist and engineers who are willing to share friendly conversation. It seems that everyone, including myself, feels very fortunate to be at NASA contributing to space research and our nation's effort to understand the planet at a time!

Amanda (Western Kentucky University) and I work on programming an Arduino microcontroller to interface to the DC motors of an RC car. Goal: autonomous vehicle maneuvers given real-time GPS coordinates.