Developing Young Engineers to be Design              Engineers         Gary Dittemore, NASA JSC          Omar Torres, NASA...
MLAS Task, Approach, and Success Criteria   • Task:         – Develop an alternate LAS design as risk mitigation for the O...
MLAS Flight Test Vehicle Configuration           Turnaround Drogues                                             Modified S...
MLAS Flight TestMax Launch Abort System                      Page   4
MLAS Resident Engineer Opportunity    •   Unique opportunity for direct, on-        going interactions between MLAS       ...
Residents and Mentors                Residents                              Mentors            Gary Dittemore (JSC)       ...
Skill Development   •   Best training is hands on experience         – Requirement development         – Hardware selectio...
Experience That Can’t Be Taught       • Strain gauge amplifier issue            – Hardware didn’t meet vendor spec        ...
Improved Thought Process and Approach to                            Problems       • Unable to rely on well parameterized ...
Effective Leadership       • Risk trades during progress of the project            – Management of critical path: Manifold...
Theo Muench - Background    • Mechanical engineer    • GSFC Cryogenics - Research & Development - 4 years    • Solar Dynam...
Personal Motivation      • MLAS/resident engineer program provided access to        project managers in a quasi-peer/mento...
Networking       • MLAS was a multi-center staffed program            – Direct exposure to other NASA center’s facilities ...
Technical Story - Motor Pressure Transducers       • Expected to see 1200 psi +/- 100 psi for ~6 second         duration  ...
Learning - Engineering Responsibility                               (Ownership)       • Personal Background             – ...
Sam Miller - Background       • Electrical engineer       • LaRC earth science applications – 2 years       • Virtual real...
Requirements and Complexity  •   On requirements in early design…        –   “A requirement is a road not to travel down…”...
Three Generations…                         Veterans                                                         Me            ...
Cross Discipline Decisions  • Cross-discipline view essential to good    engineering…  • Know expertise limits, avoid engi...
Gary Dittemore - Background       • Mechanical Engineer       • OMS/RCS Mission Operations/JSC – 5 years       • MLAS/NESC...
Design Team Decisions    • Checks and Balances in an accelerated      design project         – Differing backgrounds worki...
Differing Background Experiences       •   Operations Center            – Learning design process       •   Research Cente...
Systems Engineering  • System engineering’s criticality        – We all became systems          engineers        – Analysi...
Smart Buyers     • “Smart buyers”           – Learned skills to become “smart buyers”           – Seeing, speaking, unders...
Omar Torres - Background       • Electrical Engineer       • Navy aviation electronics technician       • Army Research La...
Omar’s Takeaways       • Participation with multidisciplinary team            – Exposed to effects of one subsystem’s acti...
What We Learned       • We learned            – The relationship of all components of large engineering              endea...
Project Management Suggestions and                               Benefits       •   “Napkin to flight” made us better, mor...
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Dittemore.gary

  1. 1. Developing Young Engineers to be Design Engineers Gary Dittemore, NASA JSC Omar Torres, NASA LaRC Sam Miller, NASA LaRC Theo Muench, NASA GSFC Used with Permission
  2. 2. MLAS Task, Approach, and Success Criteria • Task: – Develop an alternate LAS design as risk mitigation for the Orion LAS. Demonstrate the alternate concept with a pad abort flight test. • Approach: – Strive to identify the simplest design that will satisfy launch abort requirements while maximizing nominal ascent performance – Implement flight test by using off-the-shelf parts wherever possible to minimize cost and shorten schedule • Success Criteria: – Obtain sufficient flight test data to assess performance, validate models/tools, and support an MLAS Objective System designMax Launch Abort System Page 2
  3. 3. MLAS Flight Test Vehicle Configuration Turnaround Drogues Modified Sears-Haack Fairing Motor Simulators Separation Joints Coast Skirt Boost Skirt Drag Plates Internally-Mounted MotorsMax Launch Abort System Page 3
  4. 4. MLAS Flight TestMax Launch Abort System Page 4
  5. 5. MLAS Resident Engineer Opportunity • Unique opportunity for direct, on- going interactions between MLAS residents, NASA Technical Fellows, and Apollo-era veterans Resident engineers • Limited scope and short duration assisting in of the MLAS project provided rare composite systems engineering experience fin testing • “Off-line” nature of the project provided an opportunity to try-and- fail • As a group, residents were responsible for all MLAS’ instrumentation – from specification to flight • Each resident was an integral member of a subsystem Resident engineers performing camera vibration testingMax Launch Abort System Page 5
  6. 6. Residents and Mentors Residents Mentors Gary Dittemore (JSC) T.K. Mattingly Geminesse Dorsey (JSC) Jerry McCullough Joe Grady (GRC) Tom Modlin Samantha Manning (KSC) Bob Ryan Samuel Miller (LaRC) Dave Shemwell Theodore Muench (GSFC) Milt Silveira Terrian Nowden (GRC) Bob West Sarah Quach (KSC) Jerry Sterling (GSFC) Omar Torres (LaRC)Max Launch Abort System Page 6
  7. 7. Skill Development • Best training is hands on experience – Requirement development – Hardware selection and procurement – Procedure writing: test/launch/recycle – Vehicle test/check out – Launch Resident engineer performing camera vibration testing • Understanding the risk balance between engineering vs. schedule vs. budget • Flight hardware inspires – Some peers at home centers left due to dullness of their insight/oversight tasks – MLAS afforded opportunity to make a tangible difference in the exploration vision! Resident engineers hardening Space Fibre camera for flightMax Launch Abort System Page 7
  8. 8. Experience That Can’t Be Taught • Strain gauge amplifier issue – Hardware didn’t meet vendor spec – Worked constant modifications and adjustments – Eventually replaced amplifiers • Retrospect illuminates the problem’s value... – “You earned your scars; wear them well” – Required delivery date plays a large part in corrective action – Small team prioritizes itselfMax Launch Abort System Page 8
  9. 9. Improved Thought Process and Approach to Problems • Unable to rely on well parameterized problems – Ex. Shuttle program has well defined specs and procedures – “Needed a push at the beginning to take ownership…” • Understanding the design process – Aware of the limitations and decisions involved – “Models are only as good as the assumptions that went into them” • Also learned how NOT to think – Need to have the goal in mind at all times – The project is bigger than the subsystem!Max Launch Abort System Page 9
  10. 10. Effective Leadership • Risk trades during progress of the project – Management of critical path: Manifolded Motors • Decisions based on past experience – Connector issues – Air data boom • Methods of motivating group – Shared personal experiences – Tailored approaches to different personalities – Communicated openly with all levels of workforceMax Launch Abort System Page 10
  11. 11. Theo Muench - Background • Mechanical engineer • GSFC Cryogenics - Research & Development - 4 years • Solar Dynamics Observatory – I&T of propulsion subsystem – 1 year • Landsat Data Continuity Mission – TIRS cryogenic subsystemMax Launch Abort System Page 11
  12. 12. Personal Motivation • MLAS/resident engineer program provided access to project managers in a quasi-peer/mentorship role – Big picture perspective provides inspiration for performing seemingly simple or mundane tasks – Observing effective project management teaches leadership skills/process – In-depth exposure to role models allows for long-term career goal realism – Short term efficiency loss through exposing residents to high level decision making process is traded for big picture inspiration and teaching opportunitiesMax Launch Abort System Page 12
  13. 13. Networking • MLAS was a multi-center staffed program – Direct exposure to other NASA center’s facilities and personnel – Career building relationships garnered – Provides global view of the NASA mission – Experience of unity within the agency – Understanding of why differences exist between centersMax Launch Abort System Page 13
  14. 14. Technical Story - Motor Pressure Transducers • Expected to see 1200 psi +/- 100 psi for ~6 second duration • Post-flight review found that sensor pin-outs on vendor specification sheet and calibration sheet differed – Signal ground recorded instead of signal (0V read during flight) • Pre-flight testing – Individual sensors bench tested at multiple data points – System end-to-end testing only performed at atmospheric pressure – No comparison of bench test and flight wiring harnesses – End to end testing of pressure sensors occurred day before shipment to pad – Non-trivial to safely get high pressure source into proximity of integrated pressure transducersMax Launch Abort System Page 14
  15. 15. Learning - Engineering Responsibility (Ownership) • Personal Background – Minimal systems engineering responsibility – Highest level of experience (ownership) = repair/maint. of POV – My testing philosophy –based on personal experience • I knew GSFC “testing philosophy” for robotic missions – Risk management through responsibility division, & extensive documentation – Personally viewed as excessive and tedious – Performed tests as instructed • Learned the difference between “knowing the path” and “walking the path” – Gained a personal rational for system testing vs. an institutional explanation – Importance of communication/documentationMax Launch Abort System Page 15
  16. 16. Sam Miller - Background • Electrical engineer • LaRC earth science applications – 2 years • Virtual reality research and development – 1 year • Robotics R&D – 3 years • Never worked on a flight project (!)Max Launch Abort System Page 16
  17. 17. Requirements and Complexity • On requirements in early design… – “A requirement is a road not to travel down…” – Specify direction, preclude undesired paths, don’t impose implementation – Accomplish by having good design engineer: listen, discuss, formulate – Ex. Bob Beil – Ex. “01.01.09: Determine Relative dynamics of CM-forward fairing to show margin to recontact” • On complexity… – Electronics: easy to add, but very hard to validate, test, and maintain for launch – Structures: initially hard, but taper away before launch – Ex. Strain gauges, high-speed cameras, ground sensors – Our direct participation in design/assembly/test matured our capacity to engineer complex systems effort structures electronics launch timeMax Launch Abort System Page 17
  18. 18. Three Generations… Veterans Me Experts Images: http://www.clker.com/ www.fallingpixel.comMax Launch Abort System Page 18
  19. 19. Cross Discipline Decisions • Cross-discipline view essential to good engineering… • Know expertise limits, avoid engineering- judgment based decisions outside discipline • Ex. “Waterproof” box leak rate judgment call was outside my expertiseMax Launch Abort System Page 19
  20. 20. Gary Dittemore - Background • Mechanical Engineer • OMS/RCS Mission Operations/JSC – 5 years • MLAS/NESC – 2 yearsMax Launch Abort System Page 20
  21. 21. Design Team Decisions • Checks and Balances in an accelerated design project – Differing backgrounds working together – Design Boards – Peer ReviewsMax Launch Abort System Page 21
  22. 22. Differing Background Experiences • Operations Center – Learning design process • Research Center – Learning operations processes • Flight Test Center – Learning to work with a larger programMax Launch Abort System Page 22
  23. 23. Systems Engineering • System engineering’s criticality – We all became systems engineers – Analysis Skills – Insight – Imagination – HumilityMax Launch Abort System Page 23
  24. 24. Smart Buyers • “Smart buyers” – Learned skills to become “smart buyers” – Seeing, speaking, understandingMax Launch Abort System Page 24
  25. 25. Omar Torres - Background • Electrical Engineer • Navy aviation electronics technician • Army Research Lab at White Sands Missile Range • 2 NASA summer internships • 1 Graduate Student Researcher Program (GSRP) • NASA Langley Research Center – 5 yearsMax Launch Abort System Page 25
  26. 26. Omar’s Takeaways • Participation with multidisciplinary team – Exposed to effects of one subsystem’s actions to another’s workload • MLAS was a challenge in many aspects – Participated with avionics, aerodynamics, and GNC teams – Had to adjust to a fast pace environment – Seeing things from a systems perspective – Took responsibilities on actions the team needed help with • Opportunity to rise to a new level as an engineer • One of a kind experienceMax Launch Abort System Page 26
  27. 27. What We Learned • We learned – The relationship of all components of large engineering endeavor (from leadership to procedures) – To embrace responsibility – Agency-wide participation engenders mutual respect – To understand and value design, testing, and ops cultures – An excellent method for developing young engineers • We and our peers are ready for more!!Max Launch Abort System Page 27
  28. 28. Project Management Suggestions and Benefits • “Napkin to flight” made us better, more versatile engineers, cognizant of system-level issues, risks, and trades • Fast pace gives system perspective: the decisional trajectory is held in the brains of all • Real hardware responsibility forced us to “walk” paths we only “knew” (at best) • Real responsibility, with the capacity for unchecked failure, transforms number crunchers to leaders • Gathering top talent from multiple centers to work on a test project, allows skill transfer back to multiple centers/organizations • Developing young engineers through prototype work provides a new generation of “smart buyers” for the Agency • All engineers should have this type of experience…Max Launch Abort System Page 28
  29. 29. Questions?
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