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Dartmouth News
>  News Releases >   2003 >   August

Senior explores space at NASA summer job

Posted 08/13/03, by James Donnelly

Dambach's youthful dreams of being an astronaut live on

Erik Dambach '04 and the Saturn V rocket, which powered missions to the moon. Dambach is interested in the science of propulsion and plans a career in a space-related field. (photo courtesy of Erik Dambach '04)

According to Dartmouth senior Erik Dambach, space exploration has always been one of his goals. As a participant in the 2003 NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) near Washington, D.C., he has taken a step closer to achieving that goal.

"I'm one of those people who as a young child wanted to become an astronaut, and I still do even now," he said.

Dambach has spent the last 10 weeks among a select group of 18 college juniors, seniors and graduate students conducting research and learning from experts at GSFC. The NASA program draws students from across the nation with an interest in pursing professional and leadership careers in space-related fields.

Participants - known as research associates - conducted individual research projects with top NASA scientists and collaborated on a group project. Dambach worked with NASA researcher Scott Hull on space orbital debris modeling. For the group project Dambach helped to design a formation-flying satellite system.

In addition to the research, Dambach and other participants attended lectures by leading experts in the field of space exploration. Participants also toured important offices, laboratories and space-related companies including NASA Headquarters, the NASA Langley Research Center and the NASA Johnson Space Center.

Dambach, who saved for five years starting in the second grade to attend NASA's space camp, and returned as a sophomore in high school for the Advanced Space Academy, said that the time spent at Goddard Space Flight Center has helped him to narrow the range of options he is considering pursuing as a career.

Dambach, a physics modified with chemistry major, will return to Dartmouth in the fall intent on bringing some of the knowledge he has gained back with him.

- James Donnelly

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