James Tyler Nichols, who recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and biosystems engineering, was featured by NASA for his excellent work as a NASA intern. The recognition came as part of NASA's National Intern Day celebration.
“UK aerospace students continue to be selected for amazing internship opportunities like NASA Academy and then distinguish themselves once there,” said Suzanne Weaver Smith, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the NASA Kentucky Space Grant and EPSCoR Programs. “Tyler’s exceptional contributions and leadership are one example. We are proud of his accomplishments.”
From NASA's feature: "Tyler Nichols is interning at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia where he is working as a NASA Academy Research Associate. Currently, his project is to demonstrate a lift-off and landing system for a new space rocket concept known as Hercules. He and his team work together to design the rocket, study the systems of the spacecraft and design and build all parts of the vehicle. To accomplish these tasks he uses 3D printers, electrical components, powerful batteries, and high-powered fans that represent the rocket engines. The goal of Tyler's project is to show that a small-scale version of Hercules can lift off, hover, move around and land safely. If he and his team can prove this, it will help NASA further develop the Hercules concept."
Nichols is one of four UK students, from a total of 16, who were selected for the highly competitive NASA Academy at NASA Langley Research Center. The academy is an intense multi-disciplinary research project that requires focus and commitment. A real problem in aeronautics or aerospace is given to the team and the team decides how to solve the problem using available resources. The team will have a technical advisory committee composed of NASA experts in the area of the project, including past summer team alumni. The advisory committee meets once per week to hear the team’s progress, take questions, make suggestions, etc. Fellow Academy members from UK Ethan Howell, Mingping Zheng and Rayna Weibrecht are also working on Hercules.
Nichols’ experience, success and leadership on the UK Kentucky Re-entry Universal Payload System (KRUPS) reentry experiments student team prepared him for this opportunity. Nichols will begin graduate studies in mechanical engineering at UK this fall.
You can see Nichols featured here.