UAHuntsville All-American serving her country and its Warfighters
Kristin Spencer, Mechanical Engineer, demonstrates how she and her co-workers apply carbon fiber material to the composite hardback mandrel in order to fabricate the reduced-weight M279 Hellfire Missile Launcher. This work is accomplished in the Composite Structures Laboratory here on Redstone Arsenal.

Former All-American outfielder with the University of Alabama in Huntsville's softball team and the UAHuntsville 2006 Top Engineering Student is now a member of the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center team serving her country and supporting Soldiers on the battlefield.

Kristin Spencer graduated from UAHuntsville in 2006 with a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering and began working in the Composite Structures Laboratory, Aerospace Materials Function, Weapons Development and Integration Directorate in October 2007.

One of her first projects was to look at ways of reducing the weight of Army Aviation platforms. Spencer helped design and build a reduced-weight replacement for the M279 Hellfire Missile Launcher for the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.

Saving weight for the Warfighter allows pilots to fly farther and at higher elevations and carry more cargo and ultimately gives aviators more planning options and flexibility to complete their missions and with a greatly increased margin of safety .

By using carbon fiber structures, Spencer and her team were able to save the Warfighter thirty-two pounds.

"Using non-traditional materials such as carbon fiber instead of metals can save weight and still meet the same requirements," said Spencer.

The composite hardback, fabricated at AMRDEC, and the Hellfire Launch Rails, fabricated by Alliance Space Systems with design, analysis, and testing assistance from AMRDEC and the Materials Science Corporation, are on the battlefield now.

For Spencer this is what she enjoys most about working at the AMRDEC-being able to directly support the Warfighter.

"It's exciting knowing the work we do directly affects the Soldiers and I can help to make their jobs easier," said Spencer.

Page last updated Wed September 23rd, 2009 at 11:14