The End of Summer
This week marks the end of summer for 2012, at least as far as our intern team from the NASA Robotics Academy is concerned. The three-man student team had a jam-packed final week wrapping up the RCSP Rover Prototype project. On Monday they conducted a (pseudo) Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with a final presentation and demonstration to Dynetics and Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) personnel, followed Wednesday by NASA Academy Poster Day at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and culminating Friday with Robotics Academy Graduation Day.
In order to support those activities, the students had to complete their very detailed PDR documentation package, finalize a poster presentation, and write a team report and individual reports to meet Robotics Academy expectations.
As busy as this final week was for the team, it wasn’t much different from the typical pace they maintained through the summer. Over the 10-week internship period, accounting for Robotics Academy activities and commitments, the team had roughly 35-40 work days. In that short time period, these students were able to start with a few basic requirements and accomplish the following:
- develop detailed requirements for their project
- run trade studies to evaluate design concepts
- develop design plans, creating a Bill of Materials for a prototype rover
- create drawings for custom components, and oversee the manufacture of these parts
- assemble the rover prototype, integrating their custom parts with COTS items
- develop Test Plans designed to verify requirements
- successfully execute the test plans with their rover prototype
- conduct three project reviews for the RCSP/Dynetics team: SRR, SDR, and PDR
Those are significant accomplishments over a short time period. These guys definitely stayed busy. I’d like to thank our team, Allen Bordelon, Matt Anderson, and Jason Entenmann, for their hard work and commitment to the project. I hope and believe this was a meaningful experience for the students, and I know it will be useful for RCSP. The rover suspension system prototype they developed is a key step in the development of the RCSP Lunar Rover.
I’d also like to thank Frank Six, Chris Randall, and everyone else who works to enable and execute these academies each summer. It continues to be a rewarding experience for Dynetics and the Rocket City Space Pioneers to be involved, and the experience is invaluable to the students who are afforded the opportunity to participate.