Caltech Space Challenge

Andrea, REVOLVE PhD Fellow participated in Caltech Space Challenge week.

The workshop brought 32 undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world to gather at Caltech and their task was to design a pre-phase A mission to Enceladus in 5 days. The participants came from different scientific backgrounds, representing engineering, science, business, graphical design, and many others. They were divided in two different groups and they were able to benefit from working under the mentorship of experienced engineers and managers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Caltech (Keck Institute for Space Studies and Galcit) and private industry (Lockheed Martin, The Aerospace Corporation and Northrop Grumman).

Andrea worked in his team as the System Engineer (telecom, thermal and power subsystem dimensioning), and collaborated on the scientific instrumentation study as well as for the mission analysis concept and architecture. The opportunity to work with the other 15 people in his team, each from a different background gave him the opportunity to learn other scientific fields, and provided him with an opportunity to refine the rough work done in 5 days in order to have a more rigorous proposal and the opportunity of a conference paper (to be detailed soon). It is uncommon to have 16 people selected among several applicants working together on a mission concept!

The Workshop gave the team the opportunity to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under the guide of A-team and X-team experts for half a day. The rest of the day was dedicated to classes under the mentorship of JPL engineers. During the week they enjoyed several lectures (soon to be online) on space exploration, science objectives and instrumentation. We had an afternoon of mentorship from the former JPL director Charles Elachi. He was also available to answer any technical and non-technical questions about their proposal.

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