Jenna C. Maddix
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Hammond Native Completes NASA Internship
HOUSTON—Hammond, Wis., resident Brenton Hartung spent the past spring at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. His duties included a project related to tracking, guidance, navigation and control of Constellation’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) during entry, descent and landing phases of flight.
To get this internship opportunity, Hartung applied for NASA’S Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP). During his 15-week internship, he was able to put the tools he learned in his aerospace engineering classes to the test. Entry tracking of the CEV is important so mission controllers know the exact behavior of the vehicle at all times.
Hartung worked in the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) which is responsible for successfully planning and executing a mission in space. His experience in that directorate was a dream come true.
“I frequented the NASA website for a few years searching for an internship opportunity at one of the NASA centers. USRP seemed like a great way to experience a real-world work environment while working on challenging, yet relevant projects,” says Hartung.
Hartung is attending the University of Minnesota and will graduate May 2011. He is studying aerospace engineering and mechanics with a minor in astronomy. Hartung hopes to fulfill his dream of working in Mission Control at JSC or becoming an astronaut.
“We work our interns pretty hard here in Mission Operations, but Brenton certainly rose to the challenge,” said Dr. Greg Holt, Hartung’s mentor. “He has been a valuable team member in the navigation group, and his work will greatly benefit Mission Control for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.”
Not only did this internship pose as a launch site for Hartung’s career but also it provided him unique opportunities to have fun doing things that are not your run-of-the-mill activities. When he wasn’t working, he had the opportunity to land the shuttle in the training simulator, attended lectures given by famous astronauts and former flight directors such as Dr. Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz, and watched Apollo 13 in the Historic Mission Control where it all took place, just to name a few.
“This USRP internship has opened so many doors for me and helped better prepare me for a future in the space exploration industry,” says Hartung.
The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program is a mentored internship program that provides hands-on experiences in a technical environment. NASA USRP interns work on science and engineering projects that have real application among NASA’s core research focus areas.
To learn more about USRP visit: http://www.epo.usra.edu/usrp
For more information on NASA visit: http://www.nasa.gov
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