Max Martell of UAF

Max Martell

The old adage goes that if you shoot for the moon and miss, that you’ll land among the stars. That is exactly what engineering student Max Martell did. (click photo for rest of story)

Martell, a senior in his final year, is studying petroleum engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During the recent summer, he had the opportunity to intern with NASA at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
While at Wallops, Martell worked in the Aircraft Office on numerous projects. His main focus was on design and CAD work for their research planes, but he found himself studying aerospace engineering and project management for the facilities UAV program.

“It was amazing,” said Martell. “I had an incredible experience, learned so much, and met so many great people.” 

As part of his internship, Martell designed the mounting set-up for onboard equipment for NASA’s P-3 Orion military aircraft. Missions based out of the Aircraft Office see NASA flight vehicles “get around”, so to speak. For example, one of the P-3’s latest missions had it flying to Colorado to measure air quality while other aircraft travel closer to more familiar territory (for Alaskans), like Alaska and Greenland.

Martell credited the internship with unforgettable experiences, from learning about structural and aerospace engineering to seeing the Antares rocket launch to the International Space Station. 

The most important realization for Martell was about his future. “I absolutely want to work for NASA,” he said. 

While this was Martell’s first – but hopefully not his last – experience working with NASA, he’s been a fixture within the Alaska Space Grant Program for several years, receiving two different scholarship opportunities from the program. 

When summer 2014 rolled around, Martell had hoped to secure another scholarship opportunity, but instead was asked why not go for an internship instead?  “I never thought I would get it, it seemed like such a long shot,” he said, “but I applied anyway and I’m very glad that I did.”


Name: Max Martell, Undergraduate Student

Institution: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Major: Petroleum Engineering

Award: NASA Internship

Funding Period: 2014