• Brooke Owens Fellow, Class of 2017

  • Iowa State University, Aerospace Engineering, ‘18

  • Host Institution: Generation Orbit

  • Mentor: Richard Leshner

Michaela Spaulding is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Alabama - Huntsville in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Advised by Dr. Gabe Xu, her research will focus on the effect of plasma on the combustion process in rotating detonation engines. Michaela completed her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Nondestructive Testing and Political Science in December 2018.

Michaela fell upon her passion for engineering and the space industry, after years of wanting to be a doctor, when her father identified her talent in math and problem-solving. She took this change of career path as a new challenge and devoted herself wholeheartedly to learning how to be a successful engineer.

Along the way, Michaela developed a true passion for space and the idea of the human race living and working beyond Earth. She wanted to share this passion with others, so she mentors whenever she finds an opportunity. She has shared her passion with middle schoolers through the Los Angeles Team Mentoring group, within the Brooke Owens Fellowship as a “Brookie Mentor,” and even in her undergraduate program within the Launch Pad Learning Community and through the Aerospace Student Council at ISU. She even has a younger cousin who wants her to build a spaceship so that they can live on the moon together!

As a Brooke Owens Fellow, Michaela worked at Generation Orbit Launch Services, where she worked closely with the talented engineers developing the GOLauncher1 rocket. Michaela helped prepare the GO1 rocket for environmental testing. She also supported team operations by designing a method of automating part number generation and selection.

Since her work at Generation Orbit, she has spent two summers with the Aerospace Corporation in the Propulsion Department and continues to work with them in Huntsville while she works towards her Ph.D.