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Kathryn Robertson

Class of 2022. B.S., Electrical Engineering

Kathryn Robertson, Class of 2022

During college, I interned at Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center as a Pathways Student Trainee. After graduating in May 2022, I returned to NASA Johnson Space Center as an electronics engineer in the Command and Data Handling branch of the Avionic Systems Division. During 2019, I was involved with designing and developing a printed circuit board used for testing the display and control unit for NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), as well as learning about the xEMU UHF radio. Currently, I am working with the xEMU UHF radio, getting it ready for thermal vacuum chamber testing.

Tell us about the work you are doing and how it relates to the Artemis Missions.

NASA’s xEMU development began in 2016 with the intended goal of being the spacesuit that would be used for lunar surface missions, microgravity operations, and more. The work completed throughout the xEMU development "will encourage an accelerated transition to industry while reducing risks and providing access to previous NASA investments in advanced exploration spacesuit development,” according to NASA. As work on xEMU continues, it has been expanded by the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) project. 

On June 1, 2022, through the xEVAS contract solicitation, NASA selected Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace. This partnership will advance spacewalking capabilities in low-Earth orbit and at the moon, provide astronauts with next-generation spacesuit and spacewalk systems to work outside the International Space Station, explore the lunar surface on Artemis missions, and prepare for human missions to Mars. As humans return to the moon and look to explore beyond, what are you most excited to learn from the mission?

As humans return to the moon and look to explore beyond, what are you most excited to learn from the mission?

I am looking forward to watching all of the new technology development come to fruition, including lunar vehicles, habitats, and rockets.

What knowledge have you gained from being part of such an expansive, multidisciplinary endeavor?

Not only have I gained technical knowledge in my field, but I have also learned about so many other systems outside of electrical engineering, such as mechanical systems and system integration.

How did Virginia Tech prepare you for your current role?

My involvement in various design teams helped me to develop my teamwork skills as well as apply what I learned in my classes to hands-on applications. Both my classes and my extracurriculars improved my problem-solving skills and desire to expand my knowledge in the field of electrical engineering.

What do you think your younger self would think about your current work on Artemis?

Since I have been dreaming of being an astronaut since the third grade, my younger self would be thrilled that I am an engineer at NASA and hope to one day be an astronaut on a mission to the moon or Mars.

Want to share your story?

Contact: Jama Green, External Relations Manager