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Tribal College Student Contributes to Robonaut 2 Design

In the summer of 2010, Kody Ensley, a descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo, Montana, was selected to work with Robonauts' Robotic Sensing and Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) as a part of the Undergraduate Student Research Project (USRP). During his 10 week internship, Ensley worked with Scott Askew and several other engineers in JSC's Software, Robotics, and Simulation division on hardware and software for systems including Robonaut 2 and the Lunar Electric Rover.


This project completely suited the computer engineering major whose love of robots began as a child who had a knack for constructing Lego masterpieces and solving puzzles. One of the main features of R2 is his dexterity. It allows R2 to use the same tools as astronauts, avoiding the need to create specialized tools for robots. R2 can potentially increase the safety of places like the International Space Station by performing simple, repetitive, or especially dangerous tasks.


"Kody showed an incredible amount of maturity and technical ability for a first time coop/intern. His determination to complete tasks was outstanding and he worked well with many different people in our group. He learned much while here and he also contributed products to our projects that we are using. If we are able to get Kody back for a future USRP or graduate coop he will undoubtedly surpass the level of accomplishment he has achieved so far." - Scott Askew, Robotic Avionics NASA Johnson Space Center. Kody has been offered a second USRP internship and will continue his work with Robonaut in the Spring of 2011.


USRA has managed NASA's Undergraduate Student Research Program since January 2008.

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Tribal College Student Contributes to Robonaut 2 Design

Kody Ensley poses with Robonaut 2.