NASA People

Center Snapshot: Cory Trainor
10.05.09
Cory Trainor. Image above: Cory Trainor works at the Mars booth at NASA Exploration Day at Busch Gardens. NASA/Sean Smith

By:
Denise Lineberry

At a young age, Cory Trainor took on the role of the fixer-upper in his household.

His mechanical skills, which were self-taught, are being honed to perfection through the NASA Langley Cooperative (Co-op) Education program.

As a mechanical technician co-op, Trainor is attending Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) part-time and, also, working part-time in NASA Langley’s Combined Loads Testing facility, where he is prepping to do load testing on the Composite Crew Module (CCM).

A simple mention from a high school guidance counselor that led Trainor to Langley. Five months prior to graduation, he applied to the co-op program with little expectation of acceptance.

His potential was recognized, his application was accepted and, one month after high school graduation, he was entering the gates of NASA Langley.

“My plan was either to join the military or continue my education in the automotive industry. Now, since I have been at NASA, I could not imagine myself taking any other path,” Trainor said.

Living in Louisiana as a child, Trainor was exposed to NASA by his father, who was working in a Coast Guard Station at Stennis Space Center.

“A few times a week my mom would bring me on the center, and I would always enjoy looking at all the exhibits. Stennis offered grounds tours, and at one time I could almost name most of the sites on the tours,” he said.

As a student, Trainor was fascinated by science and space exploration. He passes that fascination on to classrooms as a guest speaker when he shares information about the NASA initiative and Co-op Program.

Trainor’s representation of mechanical skills, a fascination with space and his ability to commit have kept him engaged in many NASA Langley ventures.

He has been involved with the center's Day of Caring for two years. Trainor is also a mentor in the Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) Program, an aerospace ambassador and a speaker for the GAITE Program. He even worked on the Fabrication Marketing Team and assisted with the Langley Aeronautics Research Summer Scholars program, along with various other volunteer activities.

Trainor recently volunteered for the Mars Booth at NASA Exploration Day at Busch Gardens.

Apart from seeking out ways to get involved, he also seeks thrills.

“I have had the world’s hottest hot sauce, been on the world’s tallest thrill ride, roller coaster and drop tower. I have won two eating contests and have been bungee jumping, just to name a few,” Trainor said.

For his next challenge, he plans to go both sky and scuba diving.

Until then, “I play volleyball, basketball and softball in the center leagues. I am captain of my basketball team and the numerous volleyball teams I have,” he said.

Trainor manages to concentrate on school and work and accepts his responsibilities with pride.

“The work is incredible. It’s not every day that someone can say they are excited to go to work, or that they are going to test something that may one day go to space or help with future space exploration. I feel like I am making valuable contributions to society,” Trainor said.

Through rotations as a co-op, Trainor has worked in many areas across the center.

“I have been through the assembly line for completion of projects and materials,” he said. “During my rotations through different facilities I have actually seen the continuation of projects that I worked on, from when they were originally developed. It is amazing to see how much work and time is put into a single project to achieve the greatest success.”

After completing his co-op, he hopes to continue working at NASA Langley.

There is no looking down for Trainor.

That is, until he decides to skydive.