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  • Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2017
  • University of Colorado Boulder, Aerospace Engineering, ‘18
  • Host Institution: Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • Mentor: Nicole Stott

Amanda Turk is currently finishing her master’s degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studies Aerospace Engineering with a focus in Bioastronautics, which is the study and support of life in space. Her love of aerospace began at a young age, from searching for constellations in the night sky and reading books about the planets and solar system. Now, her passion for aerospace stems from the desire to progress humanity to be a multi-planetary species.

While at CU Boulder, Amanda has had diverse experience working with aircraft and spacecraft. As a freshman, she was the science lead in the “Gateway to Space” course, in which students design, build, and test a CubeSat for launch into near space. Amanda developed a love for airplanes during the undergraduate coursework, and subsequently joined CU’s Design, Build, Fly team. In the club, students engineer a unique design for a remote-controlled aircraft based on a yearly challenge sponsored by AIAA. As propulsion lead, she designed, optimized, and tested the RC aircraft’s electronic propulsion system to make sure it would perform well, and had to fix the problems when it did not perform.

Amanda later joined the student flight crew for CU’s Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing Laboratory, which uses unmanned aerial vehicles to support various research projects. While in the lab, Amanda designed and prototyped an aircraft airframe for long-range and high-endurance mission profiles, designed and conducted flight tests to characterize the aerodynamic properties of various airframes, supported flight operations in the field, and repaired a diverse fleet of aircraft after flight-testing mishaps.

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Amanda worked at Sierra Nevada Corporation on the Dream Chaser project. She was a part of the systems engineering team, specifically assisting Safety and Mission Assurance. She helped create a vehicle functional architecture in support of NASA computer-based control safety requirements. This effort included integrating design choices across design engineering branches to identify and resolve areas of design inconsistency, as well as working with NASA to ensure they requirements were satisfied. She also worked on integrating onboard component heaters to meet power and fault tolerance requirements.

Since the summer of 2017, Amanda has continued to work at SNC part-time. Her responsibilities have expanded to include requirement verification as well as becoming a leader in the functional architecture effort.