The Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium co-sponsors, along with NASA, an “operational internship experience” in which a group of aerospace engineering students will spend three weeks in January, at the Kennedy Space Center. The pedagogical purpose of this program is to introduce students to the operational aspects of space flight and to show them the relationship between design and operations – how design decisions made a long time ago continue to influence maintenance requirements today. Understanding the relationship of design and operations is critical for the successful practice of engineering, but it is extremely difficult to teach this in the classroom, especially for space activities. Gaining this operational perspective in the exciting atmosphere of KSC will help participating students become better engineers and will help attract them to space-related careers, in line with NASA’s “work force development” goals.

“The proposed program includes advanced preparation during the fall, to allow students to make best use of the three weeks at KSC. Once in Florida, students will receive introductory briefings and tours of KSC/CCAFS/Contractor operations to get an overview of shuttle, space station, payload and expendable vehicle processing. They will then divide into teams, which will be placed with several KSC or contractor operational groups, to gain a more intimate familiarity with space flight operations. Students will have the opportunity to interview senior NASA and Contractor engineers, to learn about the history of the programs they are working on and to get the engineers’ perspectives on how their activities are influenced by the design of the systems they work with. Formal papers describing their experience and what they learned will be required from all student participants.” Funds are available through the Massachusetts Space Grant to support transportation and lodging for all students participating in this program, known as JOIE (January Operational Internship Experience).


Interested students should submit the following:

  1. unofficial transcript
  2. essay (one page only) on what you have learned about CDIO during your time at MIT
  3. short description of any design experience you have had (16.62X, 16.82, 16.83, or other experience, in or out of class)
  4. name of a faculty member to call if we need a reference
  5. short statement indicating what you hope to gain from this experience

Both MIT and NASA will participate in selecting the participants. Sophomores may apply, but preference will go to juniors and seniors.

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Site Last Updated: October 17, 2017