This summer has been crazy trying to fit in work, time with family, and time at the beach. After taking one week off to travel to Seattle, I started working a full time internship at Orbital ATK in my hometown of Goleta, CA, and I’ve absolutely loved it. If you don’t already know, Orbital ATK is an aerospace and defense company with locations all over the United States. The Goleta location specializes in deployable space components, and my experience has been out of this world!

From the very start, I began helping run tests on several projects, put together new mechanisms, and built tooling for specific tests. While I am unable to go into details of exactly what I worked on, I spent a lot of time on helping develop new telescoping booms. I promise you, a boom is not what it sounds like. It’s basically just something that extends to hold a payload at a specific length away from its spacecraft. For example, if an antenna needs to be pulled 20 feet away from the satellite it’s on, a boom would deploy to bring it to that position. The staff trusted my abilities and gave me challenging, exciting tasks everyday. It was definitely weird at first being the youngest employee, but I could not have asked for a more welcoming team or for any better exposure to amazing new technologies.

Telescoping Boom Guts

Deployed Telescoping BOOM!









One specific project I helped test was a version of the GOES-R Magnetometer Boom, which holds the Magnetometer on the GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series). The GOES series are weather satellites owned by NOAA and NASA that will greatly improve our ability to detect environmental changes, accurately forecast weather, and monitor solar activity. The magnetometer, in particular, will measure geomagnetic activity to advance spacecraft research and give warnings to  satellite operators about potentially harmful magnetic field activity.

This is what the full satellite looks like when it GOES in orbit

Check out a sweet video of the boom deploying in our Goleta facility below!

When I’m not working, I spend my free time hanging out my high school friends. While traveling is fun, I love being home and having access to the beach all the time. We usually play spikeball, surf, swim, or just lay out on the sand for a couple of hours nearly everyday to get in our dose of Vitamin D. Although I’m excited to go back to school, it’s  true, there really is no place like home. 

USC needs to get a pier

Classic day on the greens