NASA engineer drops in on club meeting via Skype

September 30, 2015 Featured Slider, Latest, News Print Print
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The Engineering club hosted NASA Engineer Maxton Kelleher

The Engineering club hosted NASA Engineer Maxton Kelleher on Sept. 18. Kelleher, a Texas A&M grad, works for Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Spencer Grant/Pioneer

While video conferencing is not exactly rocket science, when OCCC students brought a NASA engineer to their meeting via Skype, it came close.

The Engineering club hosted NASA Engineer Maxton Kelleher on Sept. 18.

Kelleher, a Texas A&M grad, works for Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

“Basically, I keep everything running,” he said regarding what his job entails.

Kelleher said his job is to ensure life support is running on the International Space Station and dealing with emergencies such as fires or ammonia leaks.

“One of the craziest things that can happen is a fire,” he said.

“On board the ISS, a fire is pretty hard to put out. You just have to let it burn itself out.”

He spoke to the audience of approximately 60 via three large screen projectors, fielding questions from students and club members on topics ranging from who was wearing his favorite audience hat — the club was having a crazy hat contest that day — to how realistic Mars colonization is.

Engineering Club Vice President Trevor Trevino said the event was a success, drawing many who aren’t part of the club.

“People were coming up and telling me how much they appreciated having the event,” he said.

“I had always been interested in trying to get NASA to talk with us, because I want to work for them, and I’m sure others would be interested in working for them too.”

Trevino said being able to video conference with Kelleher was a great experience.

He said there was an option for an in-person visit, but that was a little bit too expensive.

“The whole thing was a shot in the dark,” he said.

Business major Kaetlyn Sanders said she would like to attend more events like this, especially if they pertain to her major.

“It’s nice to see OCCC clubs taking initiative,” she said. “As a business major, I’d like to be able to learn from people who have become really successful.”

Trevino said with the event being such a success, there will be more in the future.

For more information about the Engineering Club, email engineeringclub@occc.edu, or visit the Engineering Lab on the first floor of the Main Building in 1S2 and 1T2.

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