Date: May 18, 2012
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EDT
Grade Level: 6-12
STEM Career: Mechanical Design Engineer
Mechanical Design Engineer: A mechanical design engineer designs, analyzes and assembles the hardware for the manufacturing and maintenance of a mechanical system. This involves creating 3-D models in computer-aided design software; selecting construction materials; analyzing stress tests; determining where commercially available components may be used in the design; submitting parts for manufacturing; and building and testing a mechanical system.
C.J. Kanelakos, a mechanical design engineer on the Robonaut 2 project, answered student questions about Robonaut 2, or R2, and a career in robotics as a mechanical design engineer.
When Kanelakos was about 5 years old, her family visited NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. They toured some of the astronaut training facilities and Mission Control and saw a variety of spaceflight artifacts. That visit to Johnson sparked her interest in human spaceflight and seeded her dream to work at NASA.
In February 2011, NASA launched the first fully dexterous humanoid robot into space to become a permanent resident of the space station. R2 was developed as an assistant to work alongside humans. The 300-pound R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands. R2 launched on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission. Kanelakos was part of a team that designed R2 for the journey to the station.
Kanelakos works at NASA's Johnson Space Center on a team that is designing and building legs for R2! Kanelakos' job is fun and challenging, and it keeps her engaged. She likes looking at all the parts the team has designed and then putting those parts together to see how R2 moves.
Join the video chat for an opportunity to ask Kanelakos about her career path, how she became interested in technology, and any questions you may have about engineering at NASA.
> Do-It-Yourself Podcast: Robots
> Types of Robots →
> Robotics Lesson Plans
> International Space Station - Robonaut 2
> National Robotics Initiative →
> Robonaut Home - NASA →
> What Is Robonaut?
> Aspire to Inspire: C.J. Kanelakos →
> Robonaut on Facebook →