ERC Employees Inspire Our Youth

Recently two of our ERC operations had the chance to inspire and ignite a flame in our youth.  We are extremely proud of all ERC employees who took time out of their busy schedules to speak to and teach our youth about the important work we do.

First, Mike Parrish from our Kennedy Space Center (KSC) operation had the opportunity to teach college students about the Launch Operations and Vehicle Processing that is done at KSC.  Here is a write up from Mike about his experience:

IMG_1061Everyone once in a while we are given the opportunity to inspire. Dr. Greg Chamitoff flew on the STS 134, the last mission of Endeavour. Dr. Chamitoff now teaches at the Texas A&M University and has started a class called Human Spaceflight Operations for graduate and under graduate students to capture the lessons learned from our 30+ years’ experience in launching space shuttles. There were 20 instructors chosen to teach the different aspects of space flight and I was given the opportunity to teach the 5th segment of the class on Launch Operations and Vehicle Processing as seen through the eyes of someone from the Kennedy Space Center. The goal was to capture all of the great things WE did as a team at KSC and pass the information to the next generation of aerospace engineers. Each instructor was required to write a chapter for the text book to correspond with the material being taught. I had seen the presentation material from some of the instructors and the bar was set real high, almost out of this world high. (Low earth orbit high) With such an esteemed group of presenters assembled to pass the torch of knowledge to the next generation, I was a little nervous about performing at the same level as my fellow instructors. (Dr. Dr. etc..)

I said a couple of prayers and asked the Lord to help me with my leadership skills and the ability to influence people in a positive way. He answered the prayer!

IMG_1057With only 10 minutes left in the class I had just finished the OPF processing phase and had VAB stacking, Launch and landing to cover. It was time to throttle UP! We got to the end of the class and I told Greg I had about 15 more minutes of information to share and he told the 80 student, “if you need to get to your next class, you are free to go” Nobody left!   After the class, one of the students told Greg it was the best presentation he has seen since being in college. The presentation was about the great things WE did and that is a GOOD NEWS story! When you can speak with passion about the things you love, people can see it in your eyes. Let people see the light in your eyes and be the inspiration that inspires someone today.

Human Spaceflight Operations: subjects taught

Introduction to Human Spaceflight Operations- Greg Chamitoff
Operations Planning- Alex Moore
Mission Integration and Execution- Ed Van Cise
Command, Control & Communications- Dan Jackson
Launch Operations and Vehicle Processing- Mike Parrish
Flight Medical Operations- Joe Devay
Launch and Trajectory Design- Aaron Brown
Space Robotics- Megan Levins
Science and Payload Operations- Eric Melkerson
Environmental Control and Life Support- Barry Tobias, John Garr
Thermal Control Systems- Anthony Vareha
Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA Spacewalking)- Zeb Scoville, Anna Jarvis
Space-Based Power Systems- Scott Simmons
Attitude Determination, Control & Propulsion- Ken Longacre, Mike Lammers, David Miller
International Operations- Vince Shafa
Real-time Mission Engineering- George James

Our second opportunity to inspire came from our newest operation at the Redstone Test Center (RTC) Aviation Flight Test Directorate (AFTD), where kids from Florence Middle School had the opportunity to tour some of the AFTD facilities.  Below is a write up of what these kids had the chance to experience:

ERC Employees, Ryan Noe, Pete Santorelli, and Eric Trafton (from left to right) lead the students on a tour of Redstone Test Center’s Rotary Wing Center.

ERC Employees, Ryan Noe, Pete Santorelli, and Eric Trafton (from left to right) lead the students on a tour of Redstone Test Center’s Rotary Wing Center.

Middle School may seem a little early to start thinking about what you want to do for the rest of your life, but Florence Middle School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) are planning for their futures now.  Wednesday, March 4th about 110 students toured Redstone Arsenal to learn about the technical careers available to them, focusing on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) opportunities.

The students were split into three buses and each toured a different portion of the Arsenal. Bus One’s first stop was Redstone Test Center’s (RTC) Aviation Flight Test Directorate.   There ERC, Inc. personnel hosted the kids at RTC’s Rotary Wing Center. Ryan Noe, Eric Trafton, Pete Santorelli, Katie Starck, Joshua Nichols, and Christine Gray led the kids on a tour of the hangar floor giving them an overview of what RTC does.   To get a better idea of what careers were available at RTC and how to get them, the students were divided into three small groups for some one-on-one time with ERC personnel and three of the aircraft RTC flies.

In the back of this Chinook, ERC Project Pilot, Eric Trafton (top right), gives the students a pilot’s perspective.

In the back of this Chinook, ERC Project Pilot, Eric Trafton (top right), gives the students a pilot’s perspective.

Ryan Noe, a Flight Test Engineer (FTE) with ERC, showed his group an up-close view of the UH-60 Blackhawk.   Noe shared his path to become a FTE and what exactly that job entails.   Eric Trafton, an ERC Project Pilot, showed off the CH-47 Chinook, which he claims is the “best aircraft”.

The kids were able to climb inside as Eric explained what the Chinook can do and how he became a Pilot.   The kids were also able to get inside the cockpit of an AH-64 Apache.

ERC Operations Manager, Pete Santorelli, gives an overview of the Apache’s mission for the Army.

ERC Operations Manager, Pete Santorelli, gives an overview of the Apache’s mission for the Army.

Pete Santorelli, Operations Manager with ERC, told the students about the capabilities of the Apache. But as usual, many of the kids just wanted to know about all of its weapons.

When the tour was complete, the students went to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The other buses made stops at the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (AMRDEC) Software Engineering Directorate, the Prototype Integration Facility (PIF), and the ATF-National Center for Explosives Training and Research. Then all three buses ended the tour with a pizza lunch at the Bowling Alley.

ERC Flight Test Engineer, Ryan Noe, shows the students the instrumentation inside this BlackHawk and explains an FTE’s role in Flight Testing.

ERC Flight Test Engineer, Ryan Noe, shows the students the instrumentation inside this BlackHawk and explains an FTE’s role in Flight Testing.