Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, Glenn Research Center – Cleveland, OH
During the last week of their internships, the Glenn Academy sat down to a pizza lunch with Ray Lugo, deputy director of Glenn Research Center. The lunch began with a discussion on the role of manned spaceflight at NASA within Glenn. Mr. Lugo believed that manned spaceflight is central to NASA, and that without the goal of manned missions, everything else could be outsourced to other agencies or private companies.
Glenn has found a role in the Constellation program, and he plays a central role in the development of the Ares I. Lugo is hopeful Glenn will continue to play a vital role in the manned spaceflight missions. He felt that Glenn had a good balance of aeronautics and space research, and was excited to see Glenn continue to play a leading role in solving aeronautics problems.
Next, Lugo discussed his own path at NASA and gave recommendations to the group. Lugo recommended getting an advanced degree, and especially learning “how to learn.” Lugo’s own path saw him facing many different types of challenges, and knowing how to learn allowed him to excel. He recommended becoming an expert at something such that you are the person other people come to when they have questions, and being one of the first people to volunteer to solve new problems.
He also recommended going into every opportunity like it is a possible career-changing opportunity. One does not have to give up a home life, but it is not about putting one’s clocked hours in, he said. It is a balance, and you should be enjoying what you do. Lastly, Lugo stressed relationship building and communication.
In order to excel, NASA needs advocates in many different disciplines and organizations. Lugo felt NASA could do a better job collaborating with other agencies and with private companies, bringing technologies to commercialization level, and showing the public its role in developing new science and technology.