Students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who had enrolled in MEEN 402, a course on Intermediate Design conducted by Dr. William Schneider, had their final class projects reviewed by a team four NASA scientists. NASA astronaut Mike Fossum was also present to review the student presentations.

The project assigned to the teams was to design a cost effective lunar taxi capable of safely transporting a crew of two people, and cargo from a low Lunar Orbit service station to the surface of the moon and back. The vehicle was required to have the capacity to fit in an SLS rocket and maintain environment for its contents during a 40 hour mission in space for a service period of five years or five missions.

The conceptual design of the vehicle was broken down into several components, and design of each component was assigned to individual teams of students. The concepts presented by the teams were evaluated by the class, and the ones that best met the requirements of the project were chosen to be worked on further to create preliminary designs. The students presented the designs of the space vehicle to the NASA group.

Students presenting Preliminary Designs of a Lunar Taxi to a group of NASA Scientists

The team from NASA was highly impressed by the creative thinking, logical analysis, technical problem solving, and teamwork by the students. The students confidently answered all the technical questions that the NASA members asked them during review. 

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NASA team member reviewing Design Posters of Student Projects


NASA Astronaut Mike Fossum has a word with Dr. Schneider

NASA members reviewing the students’ final projects in MEEN 402 has now become a tradition. The NASA team has high respect for Dr. Schneider, and willingly travel to College Station to review the final projects of the students in his class. They stated they enjoy interacting with the students, and observing the future generation of creative engineers unfold their brilliance. The fact that their work is being reviewed and evaluated by a highly established team of scientists at NASA, gives the students great encouragement and thorough fulfillment after a year of hard work.