NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
January 16 – May 4, 2018
Goals of your project/s
The project goal is to expose the intern to the four main processes in a product’s lifeline. The four main phases are, Design, Development and Manufacturing, Testing and Evaluation. This gives the intern the ability to gain a wide range of skills and see products in their different forms. From a design concept based on a CAD model, to a fully assembled structure ready to be tested to its breaking point. This prepares the intern for the future where their job may require them to work in any of the four phases.
Describe what you did during the internship
Four main projects were required to be completed, multiple smaller projects were given when time permitted. The most noteworthy projects that involved a lot of skill building and non-class acquirable knowledge, were the Eccentric Ball Valve Design, Low Leakage Relief Valve Analysis, Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Supplier and the Magnetically Damped Check Valve Test. What I learned from designing the concept of the eccentric ball valve was its simplicity and abstract design. The mentor came up with the design by simply sticking a pencil in a stress ball off center axis, which most people would overlook. This improved my ability to think outside the box rather than a “mechanical” approach. It also improved my CAD modeling skills as a CAD conceptual model was the goal behind the assignment. The FOD Supplier assignment took us through an entire product’s phases. I performed the preliminary design concept, my college then translated into a CAD model which was then taken to the manufacturing team to build. After we received the physical object, we ran it through some tests to verify its functionality. Many other assignments involved writing code to solve a complex problem or diving through books to combine multiple equations to formulate a solvable form for a system’s design.
Did you achieve your goals? What were the results and conclusions?
The goals were all achieved thanks to the help of many of the engineers and technicians who took the time to answer any questions we may have. The magnetically damped check valve’s testing was a complete success and the mentor is in the process of patenting the technology. The FOD tolerant valve succeeded in performing what it was designed for thanks to the intern designed dumper that my partner and I provided. A plastic model of the designed eccentric ball valve was printed and will undergo water flow testing to verify it works. A CAD design of the pneumatic actuator was completed and the coming interns will carry the design forward through the next steps.
Describe positive lessons learned from the experience
This experience helped me see what happens behind the scenes when a project lead gives his/her team a project to complete. It built my communication, planning and evaluation skills when making crucial decisions on a design or test results. Gave me hands on work that my university major would not be able to provide.
built my communication, planning and evaluation skills when making crucial decisions on a design or test results. Gave me hands on work that my university major would not be able to provide.
Describe negative lessons learned from this experience
Don’t depend on your university education to give you the knowledge necessary to function as part of a team. There were a lot of times during this internship that I would hit a brick wall solely for the fact that my major did not expose me to certain topics of way of thinking which required me to perform extra research and push back some deadlines in order to achieve the task at hand.