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August 5, 2009

Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Phone 661-276-3449
FAX 661-276-3566

Beth Hagenauer
Headquarters, Washington

Michigan University Student Interning At NASA Field Center

Michigan State University student and NASA intern Scott Buffa sits in the cockpit of an F-18 aircraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.Michigan State University student and NASA intern Scott Buffa sits in the cockpit of an F-18 aircraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida) EDWARDS, Calif. - Scott Buffa gave up a summer in cool, rainy Rochester, Mich., for an opportunity to intern with NASA in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Buffa is an Undergraduate Student Research Program intern at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base.

He has been challenged with several diverse tasks this summer. A favorite is developing a broadcast-quality animation using F-16 flight data, overlaying a 3-D model of the ground for demonstrations on aircraft collision avoidance.

A junior at the Michigan State University, East Lansing, Buffa co-authored a NASA document showing how multiple subsystems of NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle interface. The Orion capsule, part of the Constellation program, is NASA's next vehicle to take humans to space. The data will allow engineers to understand how changes in one vehicle subsystem influence another. It is hoped that applying Buffa's findings will result in fewer errors, saving time and resources, and facilitate better communication among team members.

Buffa also completed a comparison between some of NASA Dryden's procedural documents and agency documents. The effort was aimed at confirming the center's compliance with agency requirements.

One lesson that Buffa said he learned at Dryden was how to be a project manager, as the position requires the blending of many people who all think and interact differently.

Buffa's mother is a music teacher; his father is a mechanical engineer. Their influence instilled in their son a passion that led him to learn how to play five musical instruments, though his major at Michigan State University is computer science and engineering.

Buffa said that he misses Michigan's cool weather, but appreciates the NASA center's proximity to the activities of Los Angeles.


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