Tag Archives: NASA

ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE – TIM ATKINS

Tim Atkins visited us from TriVector Services in the USA.

Tim Atkins with his host and students

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.  I develop avionics requirements, testing, and analyses for key components of NASA’s Artemis Program; and communicate NASA’s vision of space exploration to students in the US and NZ.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
My wife and I regularly visit our daughter, who lives in Christchurch with her husband and young daughter.  When I visited in early 2018, I contacted UC and offered to present information about NASA; Margaret Agnew enlisted me to present at the UC Connect forum then; afterwards, Dr. Chris Hann recommended me for an Erskine Fellowship to support the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering senior-level rocket design course.

What have you been doing at UC?
I lectured 3 hours weekly to an excellent group of young engineering students on rocket design parameters and trade-offs; NASA Systems Engineering approaches; and publicly-available Space Launch System technical information.  I also provided input to the UC Rocketry safety protocols for their launches, and participated in a test launch that served to train students on processes and safety checkpoints for a future Milly launch.  I also investigated future collaborations with some of my US colleagues and others here at UC.  Apart from UC, I communicated NASA’s vision to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Christchurch and Dunedin; I expect many of those students will pursue studies in Math and Science, that many of those will end up at UC, and – who knows? – perhaps some will work at NASA one day.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Time with family.
Beautiful New Zealand Spring weather.
Rugby – the local Canterbury team and the World Cup on TV.
Working with Dr. Hann, his brilliant students, and amazing support staff in the CoE, the UC Communications Office, and Erskine Office.

NASA internships now open to New Zealand students

Under a new agreement between NASA and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), tertiary students can now apply for internships with the space administration.

Scholarships will be available for up to four successful Aotearoa New Zealand students for NASA’s June 2019 intake, courtesy of the New Zealand Space Agency. Costs associated with the internship including travel, living costs and NASA’s administrative fees will be covered under the scholarship.

The successful students will attend the Ames Centre base for a 10-16 week internship in Silicon Valley. Under the guidance of a NASA mentor, they will also have the opportunity to build a network of contacts both within the space administration, the US and the pool of other international students taking part in the programme. 

This opportunity is for high-achieving Aotearoa New Zealand students to work with experts in space-related fields and have access to some of the world’s most advanced research facilities.

The scholarship aims to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s students studying space-related activities and will give our future innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists a head-start in their careers by enabling them to develop technical skills at a world-leading space agency. 

The internship will give students access to international professional networks and develop their understanding of the global space economy. 

The application process is two-phased with candidates first being selected by the New Zealand Space Agency.

Following selection by MBIE, local  finalists will be recommended to NASA who will then choose their overall finalists from the broader pool of 12 other countries.

Applications will be open from mid-September and close mid-October. 

For more, see www.mbie.govt.nz/nasa