Co-op profile: Andrew Jackson Lynch

Katy, Texas, native and University of Texas at Austin senior Andrew Jackson Lynch launched his career by developing software and tools for future spaceflight at Johnson Space Center.

Lynch has spent three semesters at NASA as a cooperative education student. His jobs have ranged from designing hand sensors for the human-like Robonaut robot to modeling a magnetic docking system for a free-flying robotic camera that could be used to inspect the space shuttle.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to work at NASA,” Lynch said. “I could hardly believe it when I received the opportunity to become a co-op, and then I got to come here and work on projects that will really have an impact on the agency’s future.”

Lynch graduated from Katy’s Cinco Ranch High School in 2003. He is currently a senior at UT-Austin, expecting to graduate in May 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Lynch’s first student tour at NASA began in spring 2005, working in the Dynamics Systems Test Branch with a group that develops and tests projects used to support crew training for the International Space Station and space shuttle programs.

His second tour was in summer 2005 in the Guidance, Navigation and Control Autonomous Flight Systems Branch, building software and models for a magnetic docking simulation for Mini AERCam, the free-flying robotic camera. Lynch used design software to model magnetic forces between two electromagnets for that system.

This spring, Lynch worked with the Systems Analysis and Verification Branch, a group that ensures interface compatibility of communications and tracking, command and data handling, and instrumentation systems for spaceflight systems. There, Lynch built a software-defined radio frame synchronizer to properly align data in the correct sequence for future use.

Lynch first became interested in working at NASA after joining a Texas Space Grant Consortium design challenge as a freshman in college, creating a conceptual Mars drill design.

“After an internship in high school, I realized how many opportunities were available in engineering, and that the aerospace engineering side of NASA was definitely the most exciting,” he said. “Working as a co-op at NASA has been the most rewarding experience of my career. I can’t wait to use my educational experiences to contribute to the human spaceflight program.”

After graduation, Lynch hopes to pursue graduate studies in engineering, become a graduate co-op at JSC and eventually return to NASA full-time.

The NASA Cooperative Education Program allows college students from around the country to prepare for their careers by supplementing classroom learning with valuable real-world experience. This extremely competitive program allows approximately 150 students from more than 40 universities to alternate semesters at school with working at JSC in paid, full-time positions directly related to their field of study. Not only does the program provide students with great work experience, but it helps them decide what kind of work they want after graduation.

For more information on the JSC Co-op Program, visit: coop.jsc.nasa.gov/index.html

Kendra Phipps
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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Updated: 05/03/2007