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Eric Nordin 11/8/13 Engineering 104

Semester Project Background: My father's side of the family has been either engineers or architects for a long time. I've been sort of familiar with the field of engineering for a while because of my father, who is an architect that works with engineers. I've always been more interested in math and science than languages or history, which was another push for me to go towards engineering. As a child, I used to play with Legos a lot, and my dad would let me play a flight simulator he had on our computer. I was really young, but I learned to fly decently with a joystick. That's probably what initially got me interested in space and the sky. I loved the idea of flying, as well as exploration. Recently, that interested was sparked again when I started looking at rocket launches, in particular a few SpaceX ones. It exposed me to the space industry more, and I got interested and researched it on my own. High school was the turning point for me, because I had to choose between architecture and engineering. I had been exposed to architecture a lot from my dad, and was interested in engineering from some classes I had taken. By junior year, I had decided that I wanted to do engineering. I wasn't exactly sure what kind yet, but I preferred it over any other discipline. I had a few design problems to do in engineering classes in high school, including designing a working water filter and designing a conceptual prosthetic leg. The prosthetic leg was the most challenging, given the little resources we had. We didn't have the time to create our own design,

and didn't have the materials to make a functional model, so we ended up 3D printing a smaller version of a design we found. Even though our results weren't the best, it was a good experience with an engineering design challenge. Another project I worked on was rebuilding some firewood storage sheds at a local nature center for my Eagle Scout rank. My dad helped me a lot with the design and materials, but I was the project leader and had to coordinate all the meetings and construction. This helped me build leadership as well as gave me some hands on experience with construction. Overall, I've had a good amount of engineering experience, and I hope to get more, particularly in the astronautical field. Skills and Experiences: I am interested in aeronautical/astronautical engineering as my major. I'm not a hundred percent sure yet, but I think I would like to go into astronautical over aeronautical engineering. Astronautical engineering has to do with space and upper atmosphere vehicles, while aeronautical engineering deals with airplanes and aerodynamics. There are five "majors" in aero/astro engineering, which are propulsion, structures, dynamics/control systems, aerodynamics and design. You usually pick two areas to study, with one being a major, and the other being a minor. I'm still not sure which two I'm going to pick, I'll probably decide sometime sophomore year. Right now, I'm taking a fusion space propulsion class. While this may not help that much in the future, it's good to get any extra classes in involving aeronautics and astronautics. I hope to take more electives in the upcoming years that will do projects that I can get experience from and put on my resume. I am interested in space travel and exploration, so I think astronautical engineering is a good fit for me. I am also pretty good with science and math, which is important for engineers. I

would like to get involved in this field more before I hopefully go into it next year. I've already joined AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and the Astronomy club, which are both relevant to my interests. I would like to be a part of a design club, but I didn't really have time for it this semester. Next semester I have less credit hours, so I will try to join a design club or get involved more in some way. When I went to the aero/astro information session, the advisor said that not many people do co-ops with aero/astro companies. I hope to eventually get an internship with an astronautics company or organization such as NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin or SpaceX. It would be good experience before getting a job, and might make the company more likely to hire me. Goals After college, I hope to have a job in either the aerospace or astronautical field. Hopefully my GPA and experiences are good enough that I can choose a company that I would like to work for. Some companies would most likely be NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and possibly other astronautical/aerospace organizations. I hope to be able to work on something that advances space technology. Satellites, rockets, capsules, probes and rovers are some examples. In particular, I would enjoy working on something that involves deep space exploration and research. Although the technology is very limited right now, that could change in the next few decades. If I can't do that for whatever reason, I would like to be involved with planetary research, such as working on rovers or probes to send. Hopefully we get the technology to send a manned mission to Mars, or a rover to a more distant planet or moon. Regarding which company specifically I would like to work for, I'm really not sure yet. NASA would be the best fit, since I would like to go into deep space exploration and they're the only ones capable of researching that in the US. However, it is a big decision and I'm still open

to alternatives as my interests may also change as I learn about astronautics. For the astronautical industry, it takes a lot of people and work to do anything, so all the companies are large. I would like to work for a company that isn't serious and strict all the time, and allows for a little bit of freedom. I would also like a company that is very careful regarding any sort of project. Most are however, as any small problem can easily turn into a huge one in space. Overall, as long as the company is getting work done and has at least a bit of a friendly atmosphere, I think that I would be fine with it. In the end, my main goal is to get involved in the space industry. Not for money or competition, but for the progression of knowledge and the exploration of space.