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Twin Engineering Prizes Awarded
06.11.09
Team Taurus, from the left, Shannon Moore, Leslie Goldberg, Bodin Hon, Charlie Foucar and Evan Williams.

Image above: Team Taurus, from the left, Shannon Moore, Leslie Goldberg, Bodin Hon, Charlie Foucar and Evan Williams. Image credit: Team Taurus
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Hokie Space Team, from the left, Todd Pickering, Joshua Berman, Jeff Garnand-Royo, Michael Duda, Samuel Tutko and Alexa Jones.

Image above: Hokie Space Team, from the left, Todd Pickering, Joshua Berman, Jeff Garnand-Royo, Michael Duda, Samuel Tutko and Alexa Jones. Image credit: Hokie Space Team
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NASA's Exploration System Mission Directorate Space Grant Project announced two first-place winners of this year's Systems Engineering Paper Competition. The two winning teams were Rice University's "Team Taurus," and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's "Hokie Space Team."

Team Taurus' submission, "Bone Remodeling Monitor," is a device designed to measure bone loss in astronauts during space missions. Hokie Space Team's entry, "CanStat - Design of a Small Autonomous Sounding Rocket Payload," was designed to be launched and deployed from about 900 meters in altitude and autonomously navigate predefined landing coordinates.

Announcing the awards was Steve Clarke, associate director of the Constellation Ground Operations Project Office at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Judging this year's papers were systems engineers from a number of NASA centers. Jerry Hartman, Exploration System Mission Directorate education lead, and Chris Carter, Virginia Space Grant assistant director, also participated in the awards ceremony. This was the directorate's third year for the competition.

Each winning team received $3500 in scholarships, a team plaque, individual certificates and an invitation to an upcoming launch at Kennedy.

Berta Alfonso, lead for Kennedy's managed agencywide education projects, emphasized the importance of the competition and explained that this is one of the many ways NASA promotes systems engineering among graduate students at the nation’s universities. She also said systems engineering is the "glue" that ensures all the pieces fit together from beginning to end, and provides the envisioned outcome.

Also submitting papers for the competition were Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s "Daedalus" and "Team Lunar."

Exploration System Mission Directorate Space Grant Project also will sponsor a research paper competition this year, allowing teams to submit papers on topics relating to lunar and planetary surface systems, ground operations, spacecraft or propulsion. Visit the Space Grant Project Web site for more information.

NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center