NASA Fellow and ME doctoral student helps perfect Artemis 2

10/7/2022 Julia Park

Mechanical Engineering PhD student Mitchell Gosma is a NASA Graduate Pathways Intern at the Johnson Space Center and will have a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity when he returns to UIUC after his internship.

Written by Julia Park

Mitchell GosmaLast month, as the nation marked their calendars to watch the launch of Artemis 1, an uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission and the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), one of MechSE’s own was there at the Kennedy Space Center, preparing for the next mission, Artemis 2.

Mitchell Gosma, a mechanical engineering PhD student and a Graduate Pathways Intern at Johnson Space Center, had been invited to KSC to participate in flight hardware testing for Artemis 2, the second scheduled mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and currently planned for launch in May 2024.

Mitchell Gosma

Gosma’s internship placed him in the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division at JSC in Houston, and part of his team’s work is modeling the thermal response of the capsule during re-entry, as well as analyzing post-flight data. Part of that work includes the installation of a spectrometer on the Artemis 2 spacecraft. The Orion Heat Shield Spectrometer (OHSS) System is designed to collect shock layer radiation data from the heat shield during atmospheric entry of the Orion Crew Module. The spectrometer will be attached to the exterior of the Orion Crew Module, under the Thermal Protection System (TPS), and connected via fiber optics to an optical subassembly mounted on the TPS that measures photons emitted from superheated gas around the re-entering spacecraft. The OHSS allows for better characterization of radiation effects in the flow field, informing future mission design and simulation. Gosma’s team traveled to KSC to ensure proper installation of the optical subassembly and verify that the flight spectrometer was functioning normally.

“The fact that the launch of Artemis 1 happened to be planned while I was there was a happy coincidence! I was able to stay on-site during the launch window, but sadly the mission ended up being scrubbed,” said Gosma. NASA’s new target launch window is between November 12 and 27, 2022.

Gosma, who is a graduate researcher in Professor Kelly Stephani’s lab, is also a Fellow of NASA’s Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities program (NSTGRO) when he returns to UIUC.

The Pathways program, where he currently interns, is NASA’s strategy for hiring new engineers directly into its federal workforce. Each year, researchers alternate between interning at NASA and attending school, converting to a full-time employee after graduation.

“It’s been my goal to work for NASA ever since starting graduate school, and I hope this is the start of a long career in supporting human spaceflight,” Gosma said.

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This story was published October 7, 2022.