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UT Tyler Student Mechanical Engineers Shine at 2023 TSGC NASA Design Challenge 

UT Tyler HEC Team HEAT members are Charles Canales, Jesus Enriquze, Robert Meekar, Andrea Fabila Mireles, Tanya Padilla and Samuel Thompson. They placed second in the 2023 Texas Space Grant Consortium’s NASA Design Challenge, developing an enhanced compliant end effector for a robotic arm to be used aboard NASA’s International Space Station.

By Hannah M. Buchanan

TYLER (May 16, 2023) – The University of Texas at Tyler Houston Engineering Center placed  second in the 2023 Texas Space Grant Consortium’s NASA Design Challenge. UT Tyler HEC Team  HEAT members were each awarded a scholarship in the amount of $750.  

For the annual challenge, collegiate teams propose, design and fabricate a solution toward solving  research objectives of importance to NASA and its current missions. The UT Tyler HEC team developed an enhanced compliant end effector for a robotic arm to be used aboard NASA’s  International Space Station, placing first in model/display and peer evaluation and second in oral  presentation and design. 

Competitors had the opportunity to work alongside NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center,  where they were engaged in the research, design, manufacturing and testing of their prototypes during the yearlong project.  

“It was a tremendous experience for the team members to work with NASA engineers,” said faculty  adviser Dr. Hussain Rizvi, UT Tyler HEC mechanical engineering lecturer. “Events like this enhance  their technical and soft skills and prepare them for successful careers.” 

UT Tyler HEC team members are Charles Canales of Sugarland; Andrea Fabila of Missouri City; Tanya  Padilla of Spring; Samuel Thompson of Huffman; and Jesus Enriquez and Robert Meeker, both of  Houston. 

The mechanical engineering students competed against 16 other collegiate teams from all over Texas, besting UT Austin and Texas A&M University, among others. Most team members have  secured a space-related career before graduation at companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and  NASA, Rizvi added.  

With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT  Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to 10,000 students. UT Tyler  recently merged with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (now known as UT  Tyler Health Science Center). Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center (HSC) and  UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education,  cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research  institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in  Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston. 

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