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NES Video Chat: Yes, It Is Rocket Science!
February 16, 2012

Date: Feb. 16, 2012
Time: Noon - 1:00 p.m. EST
STEM Topic: Careers: Engineer
Grade: 9-12

- Erin Betts: Mechanical Engineer - an engineer who applies the principles of physics and materials science for design, manufacturing and maintenance of engines.

- Tristan Curry: Aerospace Engineer - an engineer who works with the design, construction and science of aircraft or space vehicles.

- Omar Mireles: Nuclear Engineer - an engineer concerned with nuclear fission as well as the fusion of atomic nuclei and the application of other subatomic physics.

NASA Explorer Schools held a video chat on Feb. 16, 2012 with three young engineers who work at NASA on the design of rockets and rocket engines. They answered questions about their education, careers and job responsibilities.
Meet the Guests

Erin Betts: Betts grew up in a family of engineers in Milwaukee, Wisc. Where she had a keen interest in science and math. After graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree, she took a job at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the Propulsion Systems Branch at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Betts continued her education by earning a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in propulsion. She has worked on a variety of programs at NASA, including space shuttle solid propulsion systems, Constellation small solid propulsion systems, J-2X engine systems, and now she is working large scale liquid oxygen/kerosene engine development. › More information

Tristan Curry: Tristan Curry has lived in North Alabama all her life. She always has had a strong interest in mathematics, science and technology. Based on what she knew about NASA, she decided to pursue a profession in engineering. She began her career with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center as a student employee while attending college. Later, she had the opportunity to conduct testing in the Materials Laboratory on critical flight hardware using the nondestructive evaluation technique of thermography. She completed over 1,500 hours of laboratory work on various hardware components, such as the space shuttle wing leading edge and the external tank nose cone. She is certified in Level I infrared testing. Recently, she began developing flight software algorithms for NASA's current and upcoming human spaceflight programs. She says she still is learning and evolving as a new professional but hopes to excel in her field as NASA's launch vehicle thrives. › More information
Omar Mireles: Omar Mireles is a nuclear engineer within the nuclear systems group at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. He designs and conducts experimental hardware demonstrations of both materials and systems in support of space fission power systems and nuclear thermal propulsion systems. He holds bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics; a master's degree in mechanical engineering; and a master's and a doctoral degree in nuclear and radiological engineering. › More information

Related Resources:
› Rocketry
› DIY Podcasts: Rocketry
› Rockets Educator Guide
› Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide
› Team America Rocketry Challenge   →
› Space Power   →
› LOX/Kerosene Monopropellant Rocket Engine   →
› Systems Engineering and Integration

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Tristan Curry
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Omar Mireles in microgravity
From top to bottom: Tristan Curry, Omar Mireles and Erin Betts.
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Erin Betts
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Page Last Updated: September 18th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator