NASA Missions: Engineering Exploration (APPEL-MSN)
This course is for NASA engineers and technicians who perform "engineering in the service of exploration" and want to gain a better understanding of human spaceflight and robotic missions—past, present, and future—that resulted, or will result, from technological pushes, geopolitical factors, and personal passion.
This course enables participants to recognize how the driving forces behind agency-wide successes are more than science and analytics, and how innovation, teamwork, persistence, and passion are key components of an engineer's daily work. Through discussions of NASA's past accomplishments, current undertakings, and potential future endeavors—as seen from engineering, scientific, historical, and human perspectives—participants learn to apply these insights in their own daily thinking. They will also comprehend the rationale for and importance of the endeavors that support the agency's current vision, and be able to personally craft and publicly convey the purpose and significance of the nation's space program in their own words.
This three-day course offers an expert-led, multimedia rich presentation detailing 50+ years of NASA's key historical, current, and future programs. It is augmented by highly interactive discussions, along with behind-the-scenes personal stories and thoughts from the instructor and participants themselves.
Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Discuss the history, engineering successes, and biographical anecdotes of major NASA human spaceflight missions (including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo- Soyuz, Space Shuttle, Shuttle-Mir, and International Space Station).
- Explain the purpose and accomplishments of major NASA robotic missions, (including early near-Earth, Earth-observation, lunar, inner and outer solar system, and space-based astronomy missions).
- Examine future NASA missions, technical challenges, and associated timelines for human spaceflight programs (ISS, Constellation, commercial partnerships); robotic missions (James Webb Telescope, Terrestrial Planet Finder, Mars Science Laboratory, Mars Sample Return, Europa ocean exploration); and the challenges involved with sending humans to the moon, Mars, and asteroids.
- Defend—internally and in public forums—the rationale and importance of the NASA space program, including its significant role in technology research and development, education, exploration, national security, the US economy, and humankind's long-term survivability.
- Formulate the "annual cost of NASA" in terms that the public can relate to, and then communicate the message.
- Employ myriad recommended resources for learning and communicating more about NASA's history, present missions, and future endeavors.
Competencies and Technical Areas Addressed
- History, engineering successes, and personal points of view of major NASA human spaceflight missions
- Purpose and accomplishments of major NASA robotic missions
- Technical challenges and proposed timelines of future NASA programs and missions
- Internal and public communications of the importance of NASA, its national and global roles, and its cost