Two SWOSU Students Visit Kennedy Space Center
Southwestern Oklahoma State University students Kelli Simon of Purcell and Jennifer Stout of Weatherford recently joined the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium for the annual workforce development trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Simon is a junior majoring in engineering technology and Stout is a sophomore majoring in computer science at SWOSU.
Seventeen students and five faculty members from six different universities visited NASA research labs at Kennedy Space Center. One of the stops was the Electric Failure Analysis Lab, which analyzes electrical failures and determines how to best fix the problem to avoid any future issues.
The Applied Physics Lab assessed multiple spacecraft launch issues faced by NASA and ways to combat them. Madeline Baugher, instructor at SWOSU, said an intriguing issue solved by the lab regarded vultures hovering around the launch pads.
The Corrosion and Metal Failure Analysis Lab was involved in studying all the welds created when the Kennedy site was constructed back in the 1960’s to determine which ones were most vulnerable to failure. The group also visited the corrosion testing site, located next to the ocean front. This site exposes different materials to sunlight, humidity, wind and salt corrosion in the seacoast environment to study the durability of the material to the environmental factors.
A highlight of the VIP facility tour was the Vehicle Assembly Building where all the shuttles and most NASA vehicles are prepared for launch. Inside the VAB, the group was able to take pictures with the original Shuttle Discovery, view the Crawler which takes vehicles out to the launch pad, and view the new Orion capsule being tested by NASA for deep-space exploration.