B.S., Physics, Western Kentucky University, May 2002
Name and address of current employer
United Space Alliance (USA)
I am Robotics Flight Controller at Mission Control (MCC) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. I give advice, guidance and control during Shuttle mission with regards to operations that concern the robotic arm (Payload Deployment and Retrieval System). I also provide the same services during International Space Station operations with regards to the Robotic arm on the station. When payloads need to be moved or installed we write the procedures, and create the computer models for this particular move to make sure that it can be done, and if something goes wrong we are there on console in the MCC to help.
What I got from the WKU Physics and Astronomy department that helps me to be successful in this job
I feel that my degree in physics from WKU helps me everyday in my job by allowing me to communicate with a wide variety of scientific disciplines. This communication stems from a firm understanding of the physical principles that are core to all areas essential to the manned space flight program.
Tips and advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in my area
The best advice that I could give someone that is interested in becoming a Robotics Flight Controller or working at JSC would be to co-op. There are countless opportunities for co-op students, they can be with NASA, USA, Barrios, and many other contractor companies with the space program. This allows you to see different areas of the program and better pick what you want to concentrate on.
Favorite memory from my time at WKU
I would have to say that being in the WKU Physics department is a great place to be. All the faculty are very interested in each student and the small class size allows the student to be an individual and not just another number like at some universities.