NASA Langley Research Center
May 21 – July 27, 2018
Goals of your project/s:
There were two main projects I worked on during my summer internship in the Aerothermodynamics Branch. One project’s goal was to continue modifying a third party’s three-dimensional (3D) mapping program to move toward beta testing for eventual production-level use. The other project’s goal was to assist with hypersonic wind tunnel testing in the Langley Aerothermodynamics Laboratory.
Describe what you did during the internship.
The project involving modifying a 3D mapping program was a continuation of the work completed during my fall internship in 2017, which involved modifying a mapping program to be compatible with aeroheating data gathered at Langley. During my summer internship with the branch, I updated the modified program to work on an alternative operating system, implemented new features, and attempted to make the program as user friendly as possible. Additionally, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the experimental team within the branch where I detailed the updates made to the program and instructions on how to use it. My second summer project gave me the opportunity to experience some of the work that experimentalists do for wind tunnel tests on center. By assisting with wind tunnel entries, I had a chance to observe and participate in many steps of the model preparation and testing process. I got some exposure to the model shop as wind tunnel models were being built, worked with technicians and test engineers in the tunnels to set up for wind tunnel tests and acquire data, and worked with researchers during data reduction and analysis to understand the meaning of the results from the tests.
Did you achieve your goals? What were the results and conclusions?
I was able to meet the goals of my internship for both projects I worked on. Specific results regarding my work on modifying the 3D mapping program to move toward eventual production-level use can be summarized as successfully making the program more accessible and streamlined for experimentalists. These results were accomplished by updating the program to work on Linux operating systems (where other experimental test production-level programs reside) and implementing updated user interfaces with extensive feedback, creating a cohesive and easy experience for the user. There was a positive reception regarding the modifications I made to the program by the branch, and the branch plans on pursuing the use of the program for potential standard data reduction after additional testing. Results from assisting in wind tunnel testing are less tangible, however I was able to add some value during my time in the tunnel through extensive troubleshooting of a rarely used data reduction process. The results from the troubleshooting led to significant discussions within the branch about the data acquisition technique and reducing data of that type moving forward, identifying areas of additional research in the process.
Describe positive lessons learned from this experience:
One of the most valuable lessons I learned during my summer internship was to not be intimidated by the work being done nor by those doing the work when beginning a new project. There are truly amazing things being done at Langley, and I believe I spent my summer amongst some of the most intelligent people in the world. It was hard to believe that I could contribute to NASA in a meaningful way after meeting these people and learning about their projects. My mentors showed me that rather than letting my surroundings and peers intimidate me, I could leverage those circumstances to benefit me by changing my perspective. Instead of being worried that I was not going to add value to a project because I am a student with a limited understanding of certain aspects of the work, I should be proud to have been chosen for this opportunity, I should know I was selected for a reason, and I should work diligently to do my best. By changing my thoughts on how I fit into the project team, I was able to enjoy my experience at Langley much more than if I had allowed the feelings of being intimidated influence my work. I know that I will face a similar challenge of overcoming these feelings when I begin my career as an engineer, but I also know that I can change my perspective of the situation to help me understand that I can contribute to the work being done in a meaningful way.
Describe negative lessons learned from this experience: