Particle physics laboratory

Aerospace Engineering PhD Student Selected for ISS National Laboratory Fellowship

A University of Central Florida aerospace engineering doctoral student begins a year-long project that could lead to better design of space station systems, including Gateway, the planned lunar outpost that will serve as a core component of the program Artemis.

She joins the ranks of several UCF students and faculty who have worked on research projects that support the Artemis program.

The student, Taylor Peterson, will complete her research under the James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship, which is sponsored by the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS) through the Center for the Advancement of sciences in space (CASIS). The scholarship is designed to introduce undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups to space research and technology development. She is one of three students from across the United States who were selected to participate.

Each scholar receives a $5,000 stipend and is paired with a CASIS mentor as well as a subject matter expert in their field of study. In collaboration with the mentor and the expert, each fellow will carry out a research project of their choice which aims to advance the mission of the national laboratory of the ISS.

Peterson’s research will focus on the boiling effect of supercooled cryogenic thruster in microgravity. His adviser at UCF is Assistant Professor Michael Kinzel, who directs the Computational Fluids and Aerodynamics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The goal of my research will be to study the behavior of this boiling with computational fluid dynamics and structural responses and relate them to systems used on the International Space Station,” Peterson said. “With the Artemis program gaining momentum, this data will be essential to understanding how to better design our systems, especially in places where fluid flow becomes extremely complex.”

Peterson says his interest in aerospace engineering was sparked when he was in college. She studied physics at a small university in Wisconsin, but had the opportunity to work on several engineering projects, some of which traveled to space on Blue Origin flights.

“The engineering practicality is what I liked about these projects,” says Peterson. “I didn’t have formal engineering classes, but because of my involvement and dedication to projects, I learned many of the necessary skills that come with engineering.”

Peterson says she looks forward to working with researchers at the ISS National Laboratory and learning new skills that will be relevant to her career. She will present the results of her research at the ISS Research and Development Conference next year.