HOUSTON. - 08 February 12
Adam Naids: Building a Window Into the Future of Space Exploration
Heather L. Ogletree
The next generation of MultiMission Space Exploration Vehicles (MMSEV) is under construction at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston with the help of scientists, engineers, and interns. Yes, interns. Believe it or not, interns have become an integral part to the design, construction and integration of the MMSEV, which will take future astronauts to near earth objects, the moon, and one day, to Mars. Last summer, Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) Intern Adam Naids was selected to join the ranks of MMSEV engineers under Fernando Zumbado, his NASA mentor at JSC.
Naids remarked, “Getting to be a part of the next great adventure in human space exploration is very thrilling.” Naids, like many interns, has aspirations to become an astronaut one day. The engineering physics major from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University even pushed his graduation back a year to get his foot in the door at NASA through USRP in the spring of 2010. “Getting to be a part of USRP has been so fulfilling and has put me on the right path to completely accomplish my dream and getting a full time job at NASA. This is one of the most prestigious internship programs in the country,” he said.
While at JSC, it was Naids’ duty to come up with and test different designs for side windows on the MMSEV cabin. He explained, “The team was unsure which way they wanted the side windows to angle, if at all. So I designed a special piece for every scenario.” However, the software used to design the windows presented Naids with his biggest hurtle — learning to use Pro/Engineer. According to Naids, it was a challenge to learn all the functions in a short period of time, but with “hard work” and help from his mentors and the MMSEV team, he overcame the challenge and built models which could be quickly fabricated in plastic for testing within his 10 week internship term.
From working on the “Second Generation Rover Cabin Development” project, Naids was able to gain an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into developing vehicles like the MMSEV. He also was able to contribute to the design and fabrication of other parts of the vehicle, which showed him that no matter how small the design, each piece involves a “long, intricate process” to ensure the best possible product; a product that will one day in up in space. He beamed, “One of my window designs will actually get attached to the cabin for astronauts to look out of.”
Zumbado commented, “Adam would be a great asset to any team that he joins. He is a hard working individual who rises to any challenge without negative comments. He has been able to complete far more than we anticipated due to his work ethic and skills.”
Naids definitely stood out among the interns, and is to be featured in a USRP produced video about his work at JSC. What’s more, he came back to JSC this fall as a coop, has already produced a new coop video, was asked to help recruit for the new astronaut corps, and is now well on his way to joining the NASA workforce. He concluded, “I am very passionate about the study and exploration of space and want to end up somewhere that I can help in this great human endeavor.”