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Planetary Science Summer Seminar -- The Mission Lifecycle Process
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Course Description

One Session Only:
        May 20 - August 9, 2019

JPL Onsite Culminating Week:
        August 5 - 9, 2019

Application Deadline:
April 8, 2019

Notification of Selection:
By April 30, 2019

PSSS is a 12-week long career development experience, culminating in an intensive one-week exercise at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Project Design Center, preceded by a series of 11 weekly preparatory webinars and assignments, to learn the process of developing a robotic planetary exploration mission concept into reality. Students have both a science team role and a mission development role. The mission development role is performed through concurrent engineering, mentored by members of JPL's advance project design teams, "A Team" and "Team X."

The work load during the 11 weeks of preparatory sessions is roughly the same as a rigorous 3 credit-hour quarter university graduate science or engineering course. During this time, students act as a mission science team, selecting the mission and science goals from options based on high-priority missions as defined by the scientific community, and developing a preliminary suite of instrumentation and science traceability matrix. Typically, this involve 1-2 hours of Webinars per week plus working both independently and with your fellow students.

Once at JPL, students participate in a series of project design sessions and develop a presentation on their mission. Their mentors aid them in the design of their mission and instrument suite, and in making the necessary trade-offs to stay within the cost cap. Tours of JPL facilities highlight the end-to-end mission life cycle. At week’s end, students present their Concept Study to a “review board” of JPL scientists and engineers and NASA Headquarters executives, who provide constructive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their "proposal" and the mission the students designed.

The 2019 PSSS experience will focus on planetary exploration mission designs to destinations of high priority to the scientific community that may require the use of current/advanced radioisotope power systems to achieve or significantly enhance science goals.

PSSS Schedule for 2015



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Eligibility   |   Course Description   |   Application Process   |   Financial Assistance
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