Alex Bogatko

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Aero/Astro Engineering

Principal Investigators: Friedeman Freund and Gerald Temple
Project: Understanding Warning Signs before Major Earthquakes

Education and Experience:

I have always had a fascination with things that fly. My interests began as a child with balsa wood rubberband powered planes and through the years have progressed from model rockets to R/C aircraft to Cessnas to a full out degree in aerospace engineering. My passion extends to the depths of space where cutting edge technologies must be constantly developed to match needs and objectives of the industry. I enjoy being at the forefront of this global field where advancement is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

I will be graduating University of Michigan in May 2010 with a B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Multidisciplinary Design. Here, I have had an opportunity to explore a multitude of topics and increase my knowledge in many fields. For the past three years, I have been a member of the Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory. We have many different student run projects including a high altitude balloon platform, an electric propulsion thruster, a deployable solar array, and a cubesat. This group focuses on a multidisciplinary hands-on design build test approach that cannot be replicated in the classroom. My first project was the Cansat Competiton, where we placed 3rd nationally. Currently, I research and develop systems for high altitude balloons where we provide a recoverable test bed for integrated systems in a near space environment. Using sun sensors, servo motors and reaction wheels I have created an active attitude determination and control payload. I also have developed and tested various tracking systems for accurate ground track prediction and recovery. Our team has had many successful launches and is constantly updating and improving our designs. Next fall, I will be returning to UofM to pursue a M.S. in Space Systems Engineering and continue my research.

Along with the coursework at UofM, I am involved with many groups on campus. As an active member of Sigma Gamma Tau, AIAA, and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, I have been closely involved in the industry that extends from our department, even internationally. In the summer of 2008 I traveled to Toulouse, France where I studied and Supaero and ENAC universities. There, I gained great international experience as we took courses and visited many industries like Airbus and Massier-Dowty. In my spare time I enjoy sports and the outdoors. I have sailed for the Univeristy of Michigan Sailing Team for the past four years. On weekends we travel to different universities across the nation to compete with other teams.

The Academy at NASA Ames is one of the best things I could be doing this summer, and I am extremely excited to be a part of it. I know that it will provide me with invaluable experience and open pathways to any field that I choose.