Internship at XCOR!

I had a very interesting Thanksgiving break. During the first couple of days I was contacted via email about a possible internship at XCOR Aerospace. I called the next day and learned about what it involves. It sounds...


XCOR is based in Mojave, California. Mojave is a small town of maybe three or four thousand people, and whose industry is almost entirely based around aerospace. The life of the town is the Mojave Air and Space Port, the first inland spaceport in the United States. Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites once said, "Innovation is what we do here, because there's not much else to do in Mojave." Mojave is also the future home town of Captain Christopher Pike, for all you Star Trek geeks out there.

XCOR Aerospace was founded in 1999 by former members of the Rotary Rocket company. Their main focus is on building Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV's). Current projects are:

  • Lynx is their big project. It's a HTHL suborbital rocket plane that's designed to take one pilot and one passenger and/or payload into the edge of space. I've actually posted about the Lynx before. It is still in the development stages, and looks to enter flight service in the beginning of 2014. In the future they plan to develop a more advanced version with an external dorsal pod for experimental payloads requiring exposure to space, or for launching mini satellites into orbit.
  • EZ-Rocket: This rocket plane is basically an R&D testbed for their rocket engines and other stuff.
  • X-Racer: This is a plane much like the EZ-Rocket, but designed specifically for the Rocket Racing League. The vehicle they have now is a prototype. It has flown for many demonstrations, including Oshkosh AirVenture 2008. It holds several records for rocket powered aircraft, such as the most flights of a single rocket power aircraft, the fastest turnaround time for a rocket powered aircraft, and some other stuff. They continually conduct new flight tests on the vehicle, often with new test engineers in the designated right seat. From my conversation with Aleta Jackson, it sounds like they like to send up their engineers, including interns (!), because they don't want people designing stuff they wouldn't fly themselves.


Possible Internship at XCOR Aerospace

Last night I got an email from Aleta Jackson at XCOR Aerospace indicating that they are interested in taking me on as an intern. I'm all excited! But I have to call today and verify the details, and figure out what it would entail. I'll keep you all posted on the details as they become more evident.

I wrote a program in my mind of how the phone conversation might go.

CHARACTER :: response*400
LOGICAL :: answering_machine
INTEGER :: i, numQuestions

CALL Aleta_Jackson()

IF(answering_machine==.TRUE.) THEN
     WRITE(*,*)"Hello, this is Daniel Hastings. You had emailed me last night about a possible internship at XCOR, and I just wanted to call and talk to you about it. You can reach me at 763-XXX-XXXX. Otherwise I’ll probably try again later today. Thank you very much! Bye."
     "Hello, this is Daniel Hastings. You had emailed me last night about a possible internship at XCOR, and I just wanted to call and talk to you about it today."
     READ(*,*) response
     OPEN(unit=10, file="Daniels_memory.dat")
     WRITE(10,*) response
     IF(response == "Do you have any questions?") EXIT
READ(10,*) numQuestions
DO i = 1, numQuestions
     READ(10,*) question(i)
     WRITE(*,*) question(i)
     READ(*,*) response
     WRITE(10,*) response
WRITE(*,*) "Thank you very much for your time, and for considering me. I look forward to talking to you again in the future. Yup, m-hm, bye."



"Is this internship intended to be for the summer, or for next semester?"
"What sort of work could I expect to be doing?"
"What would a typical day look like?"
"What sort of pay/compensation would I get?"
"Does XCOR help make living arrangements?"
"Do I have to have any specific knowledge or would this be mostly on-the-job training?"
"For how long would the internship last?"


SpaceVision 2011

This update is late in the coming, mainly because of brief and puzzling start-up problem with my computer, but I'm back up and running now and ready to post.

The Iowa State Space Society is a chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space organization, which has a national conference once a year at various universities across the country. This year it was in Boulder, Colorado, and about ten students from Iowa State (myself included) made the trip this past weekend. It was a great experience traveling, networking and meeting new people.

Why didn't I go to school here??

Oh yeah. $45k out-of-state tuition.

Anyway, I am reinvigorated to pursue a great career in space industry. Specifically, I was surprised by how far the private space industry has advanced. We've got companies building capsules for CCDev, we've got an explosion of suborbital launch vehicles, companies like SpaceX and ATK are building their own launch vehicles, and myriads of other private ventures, such as teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize.

I am a busy college student, and I don't have the time to write down all my cool stories from this adventure unfortunately. I will at least share a few pictures:

This is a VTVL monopropellant rocket built by Frontier Aerospace. I talked to a guy named Jack, who I believe build this rocket, for upwards of half an hour. He was very interesting.

 This a snap of me behind the wheel of a full-size mockup of the new Dream Chaser commercial crew vehicle being developed by Sierra Nevada.

This is a 1/16th scale model of the Dream Chaser with the hood open. This was actually primarily constructed by undergraduates at CU Boulder, and was drop tested from a helicopter at 15,000 feet.

I really should have taken more pictures, but I kept forgetting. Some blogger I am, ay?