Friday, November 21, 2008

Presentation at Florida Institute of Technology

Today I will be giving a presentation to the graduate students of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Florida Institute of Technology. I will be talking about the Thermal Protection System and also of my experience down in Houston supporting Endeavour's STS-126 mission.

Just last night I applied to the Space Science Master's program at FIT. Below is a description of the degree program. I have my letters of recommendation in progress and I have to work on sending my transcripts and statement of objectives over. My goal is to have all this completed by the end of the weekend.

MASTER OF SPACE SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAM
The space sciences graduate program stresses astrophysics, astrodynamics, space and planetary physics, cosmic ray physics, space instrumentation, physics of lightning, solar-terrestrial interrelations, terrestrial geomagnetism and stellar photometry. Graduate study in space sciences at the master’s level prepares the graduate for a wide range of scientific and technical responsibilities in industry and government related directly or indirectly to the space program.

10 comments:

Dave said...

I am currently taking FIT's Space Systems graduate program. I really enjoy it.

Damaris B. Sarria said...

I read the description of the Space Science program, and I just thought.. I could really enjoy that. I know a couple of co-workers enjoy that Space Systems program.

Jerry Critter said...

Looks like an interesting program. I'm glad to see that you are continuing to expand your educational experiences.

Christopher Lusardi said...

Damaris, I wasn't listening too closely, but a manager told everyone in an audience that Kennedy Space Center is just responsible for launchs and turn-arounds of the Shuttle etc. Can you explain this in more detail.

What about the other NASA centers. Are they responsible for just one or two things like the KSC.

I'm just curious and am interested in any intuition that you could share.

sidd said...

Hey Damaris,
my 5 semester exams are round the corner so im going to get engrossed in them soon..just had to ask you that how will you manage to work at nasa and take classes from FIT at the same time?
you did an "MS while working" earlier too right? is it manageable to do both?i am planning to pursue an MS later so will it be possible that once i start working i can do another MS alongside my job?
please answer..
and you stay at cocoa beach...wow..
have you read SPACE by James A Michener?? its really well written..im sure you'll love it if you havent read it..

Laura said...

I got my bachelor's in Space Sciences (Astro option) from Florida Tech. I loved it! You'll meet some great people there.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Time to go into a doctoral program. You'll cover the material for a MSc along the way; you'll be establishing a career path that will last for years to come; you'll be demonstating the seriousnesss that NASA seems to expect of its astronauts. If you can get an intro, go talk to Sally Ride or Bonnie Dunlop or some of the recently selected-but-so-far-rideless astronauts -- I think they'll tell you to aim high rather than safely.

Good luck!

--mike shupp

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A PhD Means More said...

My feelings are that a doctoral program will probably advance your career with NASA more than a second MS degree!

Look at today's astronauts. What are the Americans doing. They're doing mostly engineering work. They put the ISS together and things like that. The NASA channel does show us doing some experiments also.

So, will your new MS degree equate to what the US is currently doing. The answer appears to be a definate no! You learn but not what NASA really really wants. NASA trains these people after hire.

It's amazing what our people are doing up there. I mean we the United States of America have built the ISS in space. We put all the pieces together. That's a purely amazing engineering task!

Most of these astronauts do not appear to come from a background where they got involved with doing things such as all the day to day tasks on the ISS. Today they remove bolts with fancy guns, grease things, put racks together, get things to work, et cetera.

So, in summation a PhD tells NASA that you are capable of being the best learner they can get.

The astronauts prepare years for short missions to the station.

I personaly did not complete my PhD!

Here's my mistake. I share it with the hope that you won't make a similar one.

A professor told me via email that a question would be on the PhD qualifying exam but it wasn't there when I took the exam. My school's final decision on this matter was I should have consulted the distributed list of courses to be on the exam. This list was sent by email to all the graduate students and posted some where in the department. After leaving school, I remembered seeing the questionable course on that list. I eventually took the school to US court and lost all appeals. The reason that I lost was my attorney never properly represented my case. He gave me a lot of discounts though. The total cost to me was from $8k to $9k. The courts never told me why they made their decision. No federal laws were violated so I couldn't go to federal court.

I left school in 1998. They gave me a third MS degree in place of the PhD.

Anyway, I spent 18 years in college at 5 different schools and I have 3 MS degrees, and 2 bachelor degrees etc. But, all that time was wasted because all I can do today is do software work. It only takes a bachelor of arts degree to do the work that I do today.

After I finished with the US courts, I sent a DVD to my school asking to get back into the program. It was all legal through that same attorney of mine. The school simply said I failed the PhD qualifier exam and can't get back in.

But, I think if you want to become an astronaut it would help to get the PhD and forget the MS degree.

Now, I am not capable of suggesting a good field to get the PhD in. If you want to go to the moon, Mars, fly around in space, or do NASA engineering work you have to find an appropriate degree program in that area.

It might eventually help to give up your job in Florida and take one near Johnson Space Flight Center. It's a gamble.

But, all you do could still get you no where at NASA. It's your life live it as you choose.

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