Three LSC-CyFair engineering students travel to Virginia for NASA Aerospace Scholars Experience


CYPRESS — Three Lone Star College-CyFair students have been selected to travel to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Langley Research Center this fall to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) on-site experience.

Andres Ledesma, Jim Philippi and Daniel Vasek will participate in a five-week, online scholars program that culminates with a four-day, on-site space center event offering students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering.

“Student success stories like these show that hard work and determination can lead to unique opportunities. This aerospace program at NASA will be a memorable experience for our students and will benefit them in their chosen career paths,” said LSC-CyFair President Dr. Seelpa Keshvala.


While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.

The on-site experience at NASA includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for internships and a tour of NASA’s unique facilities.

Philippi and Ledesma will be going to Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in late September.

“My passion for aerospace comes from my creativity at design, problem solving and my attraction to new technologies and space,” said Ledesma, who graduates this spring to pursue a degree and career in aerospace engineering.  “I’ve always dreamed about space. At Wallops, I really just expect to meet creative engineers all while having a look around at what will be my future playground.”

Philippi is excited about going to Wallops Flight Facility with his NCAS online “floating dirigible-quad-copter” rover project named SPELUNC (Systematic Planetary Explorer to Locate Undiscovered Natural Caverns) that could locate and 3D map caves capable of thermal and radiation protection for inflatable habitats.

“Wallops’ experience of flying balloons at atmospheric pressures lower than those found on Mars is just the place that could make a mission like SPELUNC happen,” said Philippi, who plans to transfer into Texas A&M’s Aerospace Engineering program next fall.

Vasek’s trip to NASA’s Langley Research Center in October is another unique learning experience in his pursuit of a University of Texas at Tyler degree and career in mechanical engineering.

Participants in NASA’s Micro-g NExT Challenge, Vasek and Philippi were on LSC-CyFair’s student team that designed an award-winning zip-tie cutter tool, which NASA is sending to the international Space Station.

“Our success within the Micro-g NExT program has shown me that you don’t need attend a four year university in order to achieve greatness,” said Vasek. “Big things can come from small schools.”

Late Start fall semester classes at LSC-CyFair are available. For information, go to For Engineering Program information, email

About Lone Star College-CyFair
Helping more than 22,000 students reach their academic and career goals, Lone Star College-CyFair is the 5th comprehensive college in the Lone Star College System, located at 9191 Barker Cypress Road just three miles south of U.S. Highway 290. Tomorrow also starts today at the LSC-Fairbanks Center, located at 14955 Northwest Freeway and LSC-Cypress Center, located at 19710 Clay Road. For more information about LSC-CyFair and its programs, call 281.290.3200 or visit

Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit

About NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars
This is an activity funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce. For information, go to

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