Missile Products division in Elkton, Maryland and the Delaware section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) hosted an event for local school children in support of National Engineers Week (EWeek). The purpose of EWeek is to celebrate the accomplishments of all engineers and to recognize the importance of the ongoing development of the next generation of engineers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The theme for EWeek this year was “Celebrating Awesome.” Throughout the week, competitions were geared to challenge the participant’s creative design skills and even included a Star Wars themed target competition. As part of Thursday’s national “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED),” eighth grade girls at the top of their class in math and science at Bohemia Manor Middle School in Chesapeake City, Md., were invited to meet with female engineers in various functional positions at ATK, including design, drafting, analysis and management. They designed and launched their own straw rockets, and witnessed two static rocket motor firings.
EWeek concluded with a Lunch and Learn presentation entitled “Your most AWESOME project,” which provided four senior ATK engineers with the opportunity to present the most awesome projects they had worked on at ATK and the audience determined the winner.
Students at a local elementary school in Arlington, Virginia have set their sights on an ambitious goal. They’re aiming to become the first K-8 school in the world to launch a “CubeSat” satellite into orbit. The project kicked off recently at St. Thomas More Cathedral School with financial and volunteer support from ATK Space Systems Division. The contribution ties into ATK’s strong support of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives in K-12 schools focusing on inspiring students to pursue careers in science and engineering.
As part of a three-year project, students will build a “CubeSat” measuring approximately four inches long and three pounds. Students, through hands-on work, will develop skills and experiences used in the aerospace industry. The CubeSat is scheduled to be launched by 2014 with assistance from NASA. Once launched, the satellite will collect photos and data that will be used internationally for education and research purposes.
ATK employee and NASA Mission Manager Joe Pellegrino (bottom left photo) suggested the project. Joe, a parent at the school, will act as a consultant from start-to-build-to-launch: “Usually these are built by universities or even grad students, so it’s quite remarkable that we’re trying to do this with grade school students. During the course of my career, I’ve built satellites and thought the CubeSat would be something achievable the kids could perform that would get them interested in science and space.”
The satellite will include two science payloads and a camera. Students will also test the satellite in various weather conditions including cold, heat, vibrations and high air pressure. An upcoming milestone comes at the end of the school year when students use weather balloons to conduct a high altitude test of the CubeSat in the school parking lot.
Computer teacher and Mission Manager Melissa Pore said every student in the school will be involved in the mission. “As teachers, we need to provide opportunities for students to discover and apply learning to real world scenarios. Our future is in their hands.”
ATK’s Joe Pellegrino says the mission is well worth the investment especially if some students decide to be engineers or scientists. He added, “It was a teacher that got me interested in engineering in third grade which led to a satisfying and rewarding career in the space industry. I hope we can inspire some of these young students through this activity to pursue careers in science and engineering.”
When ATK Aerospace Group’s Space Components Division in Goleta won a contract to continue development of the MegaFlex solar array, the announcement caught the attention of a teacher at the Anacapa School in Santa Barbara, California. The teacher was researching potential topics for the Anacapa School’s annual week-long symposium, which brings together an elite group of subject matter experts from across southern California. With this year’s theme revolving around the study and exploration of space, MegaFlex sounded like an excellent addition to the program—so the teacher reached out to ATK, and Nathan Walker, a design engineer at ATK’s Goleta facility, volunteered to give a presentation.
“I was eager to volunteer, because two of my former classmates and roommates at Westmont College in Santa Barbara had at one time been science teachers at the school, and they spoke very highly of its mission and approach to education,” said Walker. Other presenters at this year’s symposium included professors, researchers, engineers and an astronaut.
Walker’s presentation, called “How to Power Your Spaceship,” focused on the basic science behind electrically-powered propulsion and its possibilities for improved space travel over the next decade. Walker also showed how ATK’s development of the MegaFlex solar array (image below) plays a key role in advancing this technology because of its power-to-weight ratio.
“The students and faculty enjoyed learning that some really cool stuff is being built right in their backyard,” said Walker. “One particular student had already been doing some research on solar cell technology on his own, and he expressed interest in perhaps one day interning or even working at ATK’s Goleta facility.”
Walker is hopeful that ATK’s participation in this event set the stage for further opportunities to partner with the Anacapa School in encouraging some of the brightest students in the area to pursue careers in science and technology.
To view Walker’s presentation on YouTube, visit http://bit.ly/Y1aImu
Pink t-shirts and inspired smiles filled classrooms at the Northern Utah Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) in Science and Mathematics conference this past November. The conference was sponsored by ATK Aerospace Group, continuing a valuable tradition and reaching more than 5,000 young women over the past 12 years. EYH’s goal is to excite young women in grades six through nine about science, math and technical careers. Attendees selected from 28 different workshops that included learning about what it takes to be a veterinarian, a rocket scientist, a chemist, an engineer and a physical therapist. “We hope the conference will interest the girls in these professions and motivate them to become creative thinkers,” said EYH conference chair, and ATK mechanical engineer, Mai Nield.
The $100,000 gift will support the expansion of the National Museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The expansion will house three galleries: the Space Gallery, the Presidential Aircraft Gallery, and the Global Reach Gallery. More
Employees from ATK Defense Group in Baltimore and Elkton, Maryland offices joined corporate employees from Arlington to help USO-Metro DC distribute donated gifts for military families. Volunteers helped wrap gifts, hand out holiday goodies, and thank active-duty military members, veterans and their families for their service. Go to our Facebook page to see all photos from the event. You can also read the U.S. Army’s coverage of Project Elf.
ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems division has provided a donation to the MCAA McCutcheon Squadron in Pensacola, FL. The funds will be used to support the construction of a Marine Aviation Memorial Tower located in Veterans Memorial Park, Pensacola, FL.
The Memorial is in celebration of the 100th year of Marine Aviation (1912-2012). Standing 30 feet tall, the tower will honor, memorialize and pay tribute to all Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airman of Marine Aviation who have made the “Ultimate Sacrifice,” having served and died in the defense of our country.
“On behalf of the MCAA McCutcheon Squadron, we would like to express our sincere appreciation and thank ATK for their overwhelming generous donation in support of the “Marine Aviation Memorial Tower” at The Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola, Florida. Your efforts honored all Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen that have served with Marine Aviation and those military personnel that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. Also, all military families and friends now have a place to go and remember their loved ones and listen to the Bells in the Memorial Tower as they play patriotic songs in their honor. For over 3 years, our fundraising efforts to build the Marine Aviation Memorial Tower were completed when ATK presented the largest donation to the project in the amount of $25,000. The Marines of the MCAA McCutcheon Squadron were humbled by the donation. We always knew the pursuit for the Memorial Tower was the right thing to do for Marine Aviation while honoring 100 years of Marine Aviation in 2012. ATKs contribution allowed us to honor all Marine Aviation on the 100th Anniversary of when Lt. A. A. Cunningham first took flight on August 20th, 1912. Thank you so much for the contribution and Semper Fidelis!!!” said CW04 Vernadel Green, Assistant Commander.
“ATK prides itself on corporate responsibility and giving back to the community. I am honored to assist such a worthy cause honoring the patriotism of these fallen heroes. Their willingness to serve and sacrifice is truly appreciated,” said Bill Kasting, Vice President and General Manager of Defense Electronic Systems.
ATK Small Caliber Systems, Independence, Missouri, won the 2012 Best Production Award from the Greater Kansas City United Way. The awards ceremony followed an Academy Awards theme. ATK received the honor because it finished this year’s campaign 33 percent over last year’s campaign results.
“We exceeded our expectations in this year’s United Way campaign drive by setting a single goal to increase the number of employees participating. By the end of the Lake City campaign, we increased employee participation and the dollar amount of those pledges, plus we raised more dollars from our special projects,” SCS Community Affairs Director Jack Figg explains. “By doing so, our 20 percent ATK corporate contribution is up from last year. All of this contributed to our $149,402 donation.”
Internal Auditor, Jamie Lee, accepted the Best Production Award on behalf of ATK Small Caliber Systems. Jamie leads the SCS United Way committee.
Photo: The executive director of the Greater Kansas City United Way received a check from members of the ATK SCS United Way committee: (l to r) Angella Curd, Nancee Wilk, Michelle Myers, Brent Stewart of the United Way, Jamie Lee, Roxanne Johnson, Pat Martin.
Employees at our BLACKHAWK! facility in Meridian, Idaho, participated in the “Rake Up Boise” event on November 10. Employees volunteered to clean up yards for senior and disabled residents. The BLACKHAWK! group spent Saturday morning cleaning up a resident’s yard, raking up over 24 bags of leaves and other material from the area. The cooperative effort with the City of Boise’s Neighborhood Housing Services is one of the largest community events in the state of Idaho and it has kept nearly 1,200 tons of biodegradable material out of local landfills over its 26-year history by recycling it for use in other city site locations.