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Linda Bigonesse - Shuttle Robotics Instructor
November 9, 2009

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Name: Linda Bigonesse
Job Title: Shuttle Robotics Instructor
Education: Purdue University Engineering
NASA Center: Johnson Space Center
Hometown: Lafayette, Ind.
Hobby: Running
 

Tell us about the project that you are working on now.

What attracted you to a career in robotics?

What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?

What prepared you for your job?

What advice would you give to students interested in a career in robotics?


Tell us about the project that you are working on now.

I am currently training two different shuttle astronaut crews on the robotics operations that they will be doing on their flight. We have classes in a simulator where they get a chance to move the robotic arm in the same way that they will be doing it in space. There is not an actual robotic arm on Earth for the astronauts to practice flying, so a simulator is used. The simulator is a lot like a big video game where they use hand controllers to move the arm, and they can see it on a large video screen.

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What attracted you to a career in robotics?

I find robotics to be a very interesting subject. It's so neat to be able to move a very large piece of equipment by grabbing it with the robotic arm and moving it to another location. It would not have been possible to put together the International Space Station without the use of robotic arms.

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What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?

The highlight of my career was watching the robotic operations of the most recent astronauts (the crew of the STS-128 space shuttle mission) in the Mission Control Center. I trained the astronauts for about a year, and it was really fun to watch them perform the robotic operations that they were trained to do.

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What prepared you for your job?

My engineering degree from Purdue University has definitely helped me by giving me a strong background of math and science so that I can understand the technical side of how the robotic arm works. I was also a shuttle instructor in a different group for seven years before going over to the robotics group, and working as an instructor in that area helped me learn a lot about how the space shuttle works.

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What advice would you give to students interested in a career in robotics?

For students that are interested in a career in robotics, they need to take as many math and science classes as possible. They should go to college and get a degree in science, technology, engineering or math.

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Linda Bigonesse - Shuttle Robotics Instructor
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Page Last Updated: March 26th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator