Students Excel at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a key methodology to enable complex systems development, and transitioning to this approach is a required step for industries to optimize their competitiveness.

Florida Tech is considered as one of the top US institutions in the domain of MBSE, led by the efforts of Dr. Stephane Bucaille. One of the reasons for this national recognition is collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which recently landed the rover Curiosity on Mars. This collaboration that began just two years ago is intended for further development of the MBSE methodology and its implementation in a real industrial environment. Because the success of the results exceeded JPL’s expectations, five students who received training in MBSE were offered the outstanding opportunity to spend the summer of 2012 at JPL as interns.

The students listed below worked in the JPL Electrical Flight Systems Engineering Technical Group putting their training into practice.

  • Adam Hanafi, an ECE student, worked on the development of the MSL Curiosity rover operations anomaly assessment model and on the electrical flight systems model-based design of an earth-orbiter mission named SMAP (Soil Moisture Active/Passive).
  • Derek Rodrigues, also from ECE, worked on the modeling of the operations of the Curiosity rover and on the electrical flight systems model-based design of SMAP.
  • Kyle Desrosier, from ECE, also took part in the SMAP model based project, more particularly in the mission electrical flight systems engineering and model based flight system modeling.
  •  Brittany Essink, an MAE student, was part of the SMAP mission flight systems engineering team.
  • Marjorie Lucas supported the project system engineering of another future JPL mission named OCO-2 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory).

The experience brought back from JPL was depicted as “amazing” by the students, both professionally and personally. Internships like this allow the students to learn what it takes to be a worldwide leader in the aerospace/robotics industry. They worked with leading experts it their fields, interacted with many JPL engineers and managers, created networks, and actively prepared for their entry into the professional world. Through this experience, the students also contributed to the expansion of Florida Tech’s reputation of excellence.

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