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Surprisingly STEM: Space Tire Engineer

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Space tire engineer Heather Oravec rolls a flexible tire design over a rock in a laboratory as she discusses her unexpected “Surprisingly STEM” journey to a NASA career


Educators, Students

Grade Levels

Grades K-4, Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12, Higher Education, Informal Education


Careers, Engineering Design, Technology, Space Vehicles



Where we’re going, we don’t need roads… but we still need tires! In this episode, we rolled on over to NASA’s Glenn Research Center where engineer Heather Oravec is reinventing the wheel – literally! Heather explains her work in creating wheels intended for use on other celestial bodies, such as the Moon, and how she got traction in this unique career.

Surprisingly STEM is a video series that highlights exciting and unexpected careers at NASA. Each episode highlights a member of NASA’s workforce, focusing on their unique job and how their personal journey led them to that career.

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