The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) turns 60 today. As we congratulate NASA on its birthday, the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon also reflects on its own history with the space agency. Since 1999, Carnegie Mellon has been collaborating with NASA and companies in the Bay area to establish educational programs, provide special work opportunities to students, and develop ties with the numerous alumni who live in the area. The Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley campus opened for classes in September of 2002 at NASA’s Ames Research Park with an agreement between NASA and the University. Since then, faculty and students have been hard at work engaging with NASA to advance research initiatives and make an impact in Silicon Valley’s technical community.

“Congratulations to NASA on 60 years of technological innovation and space exploration. For six decades, NASA has captivated our imagination and left an unparalleled legacy of scientific discovery. Here at the College of Engineering, we share NASA’s passion for innovation and education and we’re proud to have CMU Silicon Valley located on at NASA Ames Research Park,” said College of Engineering Dean Jim Garrett.

Here at the College of Engineering, we share NASA’s passion for innovation and education.

James Garrett Jr. , Dean, College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

From the beginning, Carnegie Mellon has been working with NASA to provide students hands-on, project-oriented, apprenticeship-based and individually mentored activities that emphasize teamwork and collaboration. That vision is still alive today as the campus and research park continually work together on the next generation of space and software engineering research. Find some examples of our work with NASA below.

  • Corina Pasareanu, associate research professor with CyLab and CMU-SV, works with NASA Ames in the Robust Software Engineering group. She is developing and extending Symbolic PathFinder, a symbolic execution tool for Java bytecode.
  • CMU-SV’s Ole Mengshoel also works with NASA to save astronauts from onboard fires and other system failures, thanks to the Silicon Valley campus’ close collaboration with the NASA Ames Research Center. His work involves detect faults before they occur to mitigate and prevent disaster. 
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  • Ritchie Lee, a research scientist at CMU-SV, is conducting research on decision-making systems, machine learning, and controls as part of the Robust Software Engineering group in Ames’ Intelligent Systems Division. In particular, he is developing advanced algorithms for the design and analysis of intelligent aerospace systems including aircraft collision avoidance systems, air traffic automation, planetary rovers, and unmanned aerial systems.
  • Carnegie Mellon Rocket Command (CMRC) flew away from a NASA competition with a top 10 finish and an altitude award for coming closest to hitting a one-mile target launch altitude. The team was one of 45 colleges and universities across the United States accepted to compete in NASA’s Student Launch competition, which challenges participants to design, build, test, and fly a high-powered, reusable rocket while carrying a payload.
  • The Tartan Ice Drilling System (TIDS) team competed in NASA’s Mars ice drilling competition as one of ten finalist teams. The team designed and constructed a prototype robot that can extract ice from a simulated Martian landscape. At the final competition in Hampton, Virginia, they successfully extracted a chunk of ice during the competition, navigating through the thick dirt that stalled other teams’ progress.