Founded in 2002 by business magnate and inventor Elon Musk, SpaceX has made a name for itself in the world of interplanetary travel.
On Friday, Sept. 2, SCDS will host two rocket scientists who work for SpaceX: Adrianne Stroup (niece of Jane Bauman, director of college counseling) and Brady Jackson.
Stroup and Jackson will be talking about their current projects at SpaceX in the Matthews Library at lunchtime (12:05-12:45 p.m.).
Both middle- and high-school students may attend and ask questions.
SpaceX is a launch services provider; the company builds launch vehicles – rockets – and sells rocket launches to commercial and government businesses.
“Our customers are anything from DirecTV to NASA to the Air Force,” Stroup said.
“We send satellites, and our Dragon spaceship is a resupply vehicle for the ISS (International Space Station).
“It looks a lot like an Apollo capsule, and we pack it full of science experiments, water, space food – whatever the astronauts need.”
On the morning of Sept. 1, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was set to launch at Cape Canaveral on Saturday, Sept. 3, exploded and was destroyed, along with the $200 million satellite it carried that was intended to extend Facebook’s reach across Africa.
Stroup and Jackson work at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on the Falcon 9 and, in Stroup’s case, the Dragon.
Stroup has been with SpaceX for four years, Jackson for five.
Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from California Polytechnic State University and works as a trajectory analyst.
“Brady figures out where the (Falcon 9) will fly, where it will go if there is a failure during a mission,” Stroup said.
“He’s been focusing on flying the Falcon 9 back and landing (it) like a helicopter somewhere. The vehicles (currently) land either at Vandenberg (Air Force Base) or Cape Canaveral.
“(Brady) works with the Air Force and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to make sure that if anything went wrong, the rocket wouldn’t land where people are.”
Stroup is a power systems engineer with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
For the past year, she has focused on designing software to support crewed missions to the ISS.
“I work on determining if our power systems (on Falcon 9 and Dragon) can support the missions our customers dream up,” she said.
“We are developing a variant of (Dragon) to take crews (of astronauts) to the ISS in 2018. The only living things we’ve taken so far are mice!”
—By Sahej Claire