NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Internship
Posted on July 22, 2020 by USA College of Engineering
"This summer I am working as an intern for the Project Systems Engineering Team on the SPHEREx project currently underway at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). My original plans to move to Pasadena, California for the summer turned into a fully remote internship. I’m extremely grateful that I am still able to complete my internship remotely – working for JPL is an experience unlike any other. If you haven’t heard of JPL, you’ve still heard of the work that has come out of the Jet Propulsion Lab. Their main business, among other ventures, is robotic exploration of the solar system. Every NASA Mars rover, the Voyager missions, Cassini that went to Saturn, Juno to Jupiter and so many others: that’s JPL! So getting the chance to work for JPL (if not at JPL) has been a dream. The SPHEREx project that I am working on is a NASA Astrophysics Medium Explorer Mission (roughly $400 million total mission cost). which will survey the entire sky from earth orbit in near-infrared light to gather data on the origins of the universe. This is a “smaller” project for JPL. Since I am working in Project Systems Engineering, my role has included working with some of the lead Systems Engineers to help advance the requirements of the systems and validation and verification procedures of the requirements. I’m getting an overview of the whole project and its systems as they are developed. The project is late in the “Formulation” phase, so initial design is almost completed. As my internship continues, I will be working with the lead Mission Systems Engineer to nail down the timeline that the spacecraft will follow right after launch called In-Orbit Checkout – a final check to ensure the spacecraft’s systems are operating correctly before science data collection begins. In addition to the work I’ve been doing, I’ve been able to virtually network with people all across the lab to hear about their work and attend plenty of virtual talks and lectures about missions and research at the Lab. I’ve been learning a lot about Mars 2020 and a mission planned to go to Europa in a few years! I have had such an incredible summer and am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the top engineers and scientists in the world."
--Darcey D'Amato, Senior in the William B. Burnsed, Jr. Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering
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