Posts Tagged ‘SpaceX’

Last winter the department received an email from Kristen, a 2012 Welding Engineering alumna working at SpaceX, who wanted to know if there were any Welding Engineering juniors interested in doing their summer internship in California and working on some projects with her and with Jon, another OSU WeldEng alumnus.  It didn’t take long for Bob to submit his application and get hired for the gig.   Here is an update on his experiences so far.

It is extremely exciting to work for a company like SpaceX that is at the forefront of commercial space flight, and that has tremendous goals like colonizing Mars.  SpaceX has high expectations of its interns, so I get to do worthwhile work that will benefit me greatly in my career. Also, SpaceX uses technologies and materials that are at the cutting edge of industry. I get to work with processes like electron beam welding, friction stir welding, robotic tig and mig welding, as well as with materials like titanium, Ni-based alloys, and niobium alloys. It’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had at another internship.

Jon, Kristen, & Bob at SpaceX

Jon, Kristen, & Bob at SpaceX

SpaceX is trying to increase production so they can increase the number of launches per year.  In order to do that the manufacturing processes have to be made more efficient, and welding is a huge part of the manufacturing.  If you need a welding engineer you come to OSU.  Two of the engineers working on welding here are Kristen and Jon, both OSU WE alums.  When they needed an intern, Kristen contacted OSU to find one, and I guess I qualified and did enough to convince them that I could do the job.

A number of my Welding Engineering courses directly relate to what I am doing at SpaceX.  Some of my responsibilities include qualifying welding procedures, so I do some metallurgy work which we learned about in the Materials and Processing Lab. The Welding Engineering Design courses addressed maximum allowable heat inputs allowed, as well as the codes necessary to understand what is required in a Welding Procedure Specification and supporting Procedure Qualification Records.  Other classes have aided in my understanding of how to evaluate a weld procedure and to improve upon it.  I’ve had to teach myself a lot of what will go on in Welding Metallugy II, but Dr.  Lippold’s stainless steel and Nickel-based alloy text books have come in very handy.


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Successful SpaceX Launch, 22 May 2012

Report from 2011 OSU Welding Engineering graduate Kristen, who was hired just 2 months ago at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, just outside of Los Angeles.

As a sophomore switching into the Welding Engineering program at OSU, I never imagined that three years later I would be part of something incredible, with nationwide acclaim. But here I am – working at SpaceX, who just this morning on May 22, 2012, started the journey to making history by conducting a successful launch of our Falcon 9 rocket and deployment of the Dragon spacecraft. This will, hopefully, help us to become the first commercial company to berth to and deliver cargo to the International Space Station by the end of the week!

As a new member of the Propulsion Manufacturing Engineering group, I have not contributed to any of the parts on this flight, but I still get to enjoy the wonderful result of the hard work of many of the other dedicated SpaceXers.

Being a part of something this unique and incredible has given me an entirely new outlook on my job – as one of the NASA executives put it early this morning after our successful launch, “this is what makes aerospace employees want to come to work everyday.”

We work long hard hours, and we deal with a lot of frustration (buildings rockets is not easy!!), but guess what – all those welds, on which our welding engineers spent thousands of hours developing and ensuring that they were great?

They all did their job! And with the thousands of other things that were labored over by other hard-working SpaceX employees, we launched a rocket.

How about that?! It’s a good day to be a welding engineer!!

Congratulations, SpaceX, and good luck, Kristen!