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A Field Trip Out of This World!

19 November 2010 admin 1,730 views One Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

By Caroline Walters, Grade 11

20101112_St_Margarets_IMG_3245The Upper School intro to engineering class took a recent field trip to the Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, to take a tour of its headquarters and learn about one of the top aerospace firms in the nation.

During the first quarter of this school year, our class, composed of mainly seniors and a couple juniors, worked in small teams to build model rockets complete with GEngines as a part of our aerospace engineering unit.

In 2002, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk founded SpaceX, a company that specializes in designing and manufacturing space launch vehicles. What sets the company apart from other competing institutions is that it focuses on high reliability while lowering the cost by a significant factor of ten. For a brief synopsis on where they are now: In 2008, SpaceX was granted a $1.6 billion NASA contract for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon spacecraft which is set to take over the International Space Station when the Space Shuttle leaves at the end of this year.

We got to see the SpaceX team in action from those in cubicles focusing on the business aspect to those in the factory working on the components of their latest project as well as the manufacturing of tools to implement them. What’s remarkable is that for each project SpaceX produces, 85 percent of it is done through its own corporation, contributing to its high reliability.

Someone who stood out to me was a 23-year-old graduate from University of Southern California, Class of 2009, who was in charge of all the complex engines that are to go in the company’s latest multi-million dollar rocket. Our insightful tour guide and also recruitment associate informed us that Mr. Musk looks to hire young people, fresh out of college, for they have optimism and energy like no other, creating a positive environment filled with focus and determination.

A definite highlight of the trip was receiving a cup of free frozen yogurt! Each employee gets one free frozen yogurt each day making it an ideal and delicious place to work. With our introduction into aerospace engineering and our hands on experience, we were able to make connections to the innovative advancements SpaceX is making, despite our colossal differences in budgets and complexity.

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One Comment »

  • Mr. Assaf said:

    Great use of Noun Phrases and Participle Phrases, with a great combo and Adjective Phrase to end Paragraph 4. You’re the best, Walters!