NASA Explorer Schools invited K-12 students across the United States to chat with NASA civil engineer Sam Ortega, Program Manager of Centennial Challenge. Ortega answered questions about building and testing solid fuel rocket motors and being a civil engineer at NASA during a live video webchat on Tuesday April 19, 2011.
Sam Ortega is a graduate of Texas A & M University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. Sam has worked for NASA for 23 years. He has had the opportunity to train astronauts in the operations of microgravity experiments; fly on the "Weightless Wonder," NASA's microgravity simulator; work with space scientists from Italy, Belgium and Ukraine; and analyze space structures for flight aboard the space shuttle. Ortega currently manages the performance of the space shuttle solid rocket motors, the world's largest solid rocket motors producing over 3 million pounds of thrust each.
Ortega currently lives in Huntsville, Ala., and works at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where all of the space shuttle propulsion elements are managed.
› Meet Sam Ortega
› Marshall's Role in the Space Shuttle
› Solid Rocket Boosters
› What Is Microgravity? (Student Article)
› Reduced Gravity Research Program →
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NASA Explorer Schools Registration
If you're a K-12 educator in the U.S. or a U.S. territory and haven't registered yet for the NASA Explorer Schools project, take a few minutes and complete the NES registration form to become part of NASA's exciting K-12 gateway to the future.