LOADING...
Text Size
Huu Phuoc Trinh - Lead on Propulsion System for Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project
September 16, 2010

[image-12]

What attracted you to a career in rocketry?

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

What was the most interesting class that you have taken to prepare you for your career?

Have you ever invented something? Tell us about it.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with students about your career?

Are you involved in any student rocketry projects as a mentor or advisor? If so, please tell us about it.

Were you a participant in any NASA opportunities as a student? If so, please tell us about it.

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


What attracted you to a career in rocketry?

Frankly, becoming a rocket scientist was beyond my imagination during my childhood living in a small town in southern Vietnam. After coming to the United States of America and seeing the space shuttle launch, I recognized how much we could do to improve our lives on Earth by expanding our understanding of space, beyond our planet Earth. Since then, I have always wanted to be a part of the team to bring our dream of exploring space to reality.

> Top of page

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

I started to work at NASA as a rocket propulsion component analyst and later participated in technology advancement of propulsion system hardware. The accumulated technical knowledge over the years has provided me a good foundation for my current position, which I find to be the highlight of my career. My responsibility is to lead a team of engineers in the development of a propulsion system for future robotic spacecraft that will explore the moon and other airless bodies, and I am so thankful that NASA has given me this opportunity.

> Top of page

What was the most interesting class that you have taken to prepare you for your career?

I was interested in all aerospace and mechanical engineering courses, but the most attractive class was Fundamentals of Physics, which I took in my sophomore year. This two-semester class provided me a comprehensive understanding of all basic physics from which engineering courses are built.

> Top of page

Have you ever invented something? Tell us about it.

Along with other co-inventors, we came up with an innovative technique to inject propellant into rocket combustion thrust chambers. This injection technique creates flow vortices in the chamber to enhance the propellant mixing process, hence producing highly efficient combustion. Recently, I have also applied for another invention of a new propellant injection method capable for liquid rocket engines to operate at a wide range of combustion chamber pressure. This injection method will allow the engines to run at a wide range of power levels without compromising their performance.

> Top of page

Is there anything else that you would like to share with students about your career?

Applying your knowledge gained from school to solve real engineering problems is the most rewarding work. These problems often are complex and require an "out-of-the-box" approach. Hence, learning new approaches and methods is not only important for school projects and homework and such; it will also be valuable throughout your career. In addition, willingness to accept challenging tasks and executing them in a serious and disciplinary manner will give you the most rewarding feeling when the tasks are done.

> Top of page

Are you involved in any student rocketry projects as a mentor or advisor? If so, please tell us about it.

I have mentored several college students that participated in summer school and co-op programs. They were involved with several short-term projects such as conducting cold flow tests of rocket components and running computer software to analyze fluid flows in liquid rocket propulsion systems. The results of these projects were then used to derive engineering correlations to evaluate performance of the components as well as to characterize the behavior of the components during their operations.

> Top of page

Were you a participant in any NASA opportunities as a student? If so, please tell us about it.

I participated in a co-op program at NASA during my time in graduate school. I was mentored by highly-experienced engineers and experts in the liquid rocket propulsion system analysis. I gained exposure to real engineering problems and worked with the engineers to find solutions. This student program provided me an opportunity to define what I wanted to work on in my career.

> Top of page

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

Deep space exploration definitely requires rocket vehicles to operate for a long duration and in extreme, hostile space environments. The vehicle must be highly reliable and highly efficient. Fortunately, the latest advanced materials along with the state-of-the-art computational capability will allow us to develop new, better vehicles to fulfill our exploration missions. In school, students should prepare to take on these responsibilities by exposing themselves to the latest technology and by relating their school studies with real work. Students should participate in student programs, such as co-ops and internships, when they have an opportunity.


Related Resources:

> NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
> NASA Education

Heather R. Smith/NASA Educational Technology Services

Image Token: 
[image-47]
Dr. Huu Trinh holds a small rocket engine
Name: Huu Phuoc Trinh Job Title: Lead on Propulsion System for Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project Education: Bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla, 1985; master's degree in aerospace engineering, University of Missouri-Rolla, 1987; Ph.D. in mechanical enginee
Image Credit: 
NASA
Image Token: 
[image-12]
Image Token: 
[image-75]
Page Last Updated: February 25th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator